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Book Club  (DVD)


Stars: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Don Johnson, Craig T Nelson, Richard Dreyfuss, Andy Garcia, Ed Begley Jr, Alicia Silverstone, Wallace Shawn, Katie Aselton

Director: Bill Holderman

Every few years, Hollywood rolls out a vehicle for a group of its ageing divas. Think The First Wives Club or Steel Magnolias. This is the latest of the crop and arguably the worst. Flatly directed by Bill Holderman, the script, loaded with clumsy double-entendres, offers few real opportunities to its veteran, if still glamorous cast.

Widow Diane (Keaton, whose fluttery-kook act is wearing as thin as her figure), high court judge Sharon (Bergen, best of a floundering bunch), tycoon Vivian (Fonda) and still-yearning-for-sex wife Carol (Steenburgen) find their (sex) lives transformed by reading Fifty Shades of Grey in their four-woman book club.

Bergen's ex (Begley Jr) is 'in Miami with a tartlet called Cheryl', while Keaton's daughters (Silverstone, Aselton) are prepared to pension her off. 'We can put you in the basement,' they tell her, 'whenever you're ready'. It's one of the few lines that's worth a smile.

Meanwhile, Fonda reconnects with an old love (Johnson), smarmy Garcia waits around the corner for Keaton, and Steenburgen feeds her husband (Nelson) viagra to reinvent their romance, in a running gag that embarrasses both players and audience.

Ineptly written, it just doesn't work, and you feel sorry for the once-great stars attempting to make it do so.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: Paramount. Technicolor.
99 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 21 Oct 2018