“Book Club” is over the top appealing, and completely charming with four powerhouse actresses that just get everything right. The out of touch naysayers can just go away, because the crowd at the media screening I went too, (albeit with free Chardonnay and beer) laughed out loud and clapped throughout the entire film. That’s what real audiences will do too. Written by Bill Holderman and Erin Simms and directed by Holderman, the film tells the tale of a book club of four longtime friends reading the racy “Fifty Shades Of Grey” while they quip and drink their ever-present wine. The path it leads them on and the antics that ensue make for a funny and totally enjoyable movie watching experience.
Jane Fonda is sassy and sexy as Vivian, an hotelier (her hotel in real life is The Montage in Beverly Hills) single and seemingly satisfied. Fearless Vivian has the sauciest zingers in the film. Mary Steenburgen’s Carol is a successful chef married to her salt of the earth hubby Bruce (Craig T Nelson). Trouble is the spark has gone out of their marriage which Carol is desperate to get back. Diane Keaton plays Diane, (why not?) who recently lost her accountant husband and has to handle her two meddling but well meaning daughters, (Alicia Silverstone and Katie Aselton.) Candice Bergen’s Sharon, a Federal judge, is cynical and still bitter from her divorce 18 years ago from Tom (Ed Begley Jr.)
It’s vivacious Vivian’s turn to pick the book of the month, she picks “Fifty Shades,” of course and makes the reluctant ladies read it from start to finish. This leads the quartet on a personal journey that none of them could see coming. The funny and warm men that are included on their path are Don Johnson (his daughter Dakota ironically stars in “Fifty Shades,”) the always wonderful Richard Dreyfuss and an understanding Andy Garcia. What makes this film so lovely is that yes, not matter how old you are, anticipation of what lies ahead is everyone’s right. Yes there is the reality of age, but what “Book Club” shows alway lots of life to be lived, adventures to be had and paths to discover with joy and humor. What’s not to love?