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Fifty Shades of Black


Stars: Marlon Wayans, Kali Hawk, Affion Crockett, Jane Seymour, Andrew Bachelor, Florence Henderson, Jenny Zigrino, Fred Willard, Mike Epps

Director: Michael Tiddes

I admit it.

I’m a caffeine addict and given to drinking at least five cups of strong Kenya coffee a day. And so I was happy to buy and drink a coffee at the preview theatre prior to the press show.

BIG mistake!

I would have been better off with a gallon or two of chloroform to help me sit through this truly pathetic parody of 50 Shades of Grey, a title marking the first of a non-stop tsunami of purported jokes.

Interestingly I don’t recall hearing a single laugh from the preview audience, which is as good a review as any of a festering cinematic corpse posing as an alleged comedy.

Believe me, I found more to laugh at at almost all the many post-mortems I attended in my long-ago days as a medical student.

Wayans, doubling as producer and cowriter with Rick Alvares, is “millionaire control freak” Christian Black. That establishes his character and the intended level of comedy right from the start when he turns bag-snatcher, then runs off with an expensive suit and climaxes by stealing a car.

Enter virginal student Kali Hawk who, described by one of Wayans’ minions as “The college bitch”, arrives to interview him for her school newspaper and ends up being drawn into Wayans’ lurid, lewd life of sex and sadism.

Wayans’ early line “Who wrote this shit – a third grader?” is as good a review as any of a sleazy, smutty and painfully unfunny farrago whose ingredients (in no particular order of offensiveness) include a sex-crazed fat lady (Jenny Zigrino in as inauspicious film debut as I have ever seen), Jane Seymour as Wayans’ racist adoptive mother, visual humour featuring giant throbbing testicles, Wayans doing an impression of a condom (don’t ask!), the hilarious line “The weight of my penis makes my money too heavy to carry around” delivered by Affion Crockett as Wayans’ brother and a series of increasingly witless gags triggered when Hawks is trapped in a sex machine and various locksmiths are called in to try and free her.

And then, for no other reason I can think of except that he wanted to do it, Wayans heads south to Tampa to deliver an energetic enough but needless spoof of Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike.

Magic is sadly lacking in a film for which “less” is the ideal description – witless, hopeless, tasteless, laughter-less and pointless.

Even the most dedicated movie masochist doesn’t deserve having to sit through this sad slew of cinematic offal which has seems to have even more four-letter words than a year of Channel Four television programmes.

I could kick myself for not taking the advice the first line “I’ve got to get out of here” offered me.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Vertigo Films. Colour.
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 0.

Review date: 10 Mar 2016