When college senior Anastasia Steele steps in for her sick roommate to interview prominent businessman Christian Grey for their campus paper, little does she realize the path her life will take. Christian, as enigmatic as he is rich and powerful, finds himself strangely drawn to Ana, and she to him. Though sexually inexperienced, Ana plunges headlong into an affair — and learns that Christian’s true sexual proclivities push the boundaries of pain and pleasure.
In the annals of sexually-charged event cinema, ”Fifty Shades of Grey” barely lights a candle let alone combusts with unbridled forbidden passion. Nothing comes close to Michael Douglas and Glenn Close humping on the kitchen sink in “Fatal Attraction” or Marlon Brando’s inventive use of butter with Maria Schneider in “The Last Tango in Paris.” Even those ejaculating dolphin fountains in “Showgirls” were steamier than what shows up in this tempered version of E.L. James’ S&M rewrite of “Beauty and the Beast.”
That is, unless you wanted to learn how to re-purpose that peacock feather that has been lying around the house.
Consider the deflowering scene. I much prefer the one in “Ida,” Poland’s foreign-language Oscar contender, between a nun-in-training and a hot saxophone player (is there any other kind?) than the hype-escalated glossy bedroom encounter between a lip-biting virgin with a 4.0 GPA and her control-freak billionaire in “Fifty Shades.”
Despite the admirable efforts of Dakota Johnson, who happily has inherited much of mom Melanie Griffith’s minx-like mystique, and Jamie Dornan, who as acquaintances tell me played an incredibly attractive serial killer in the cult TV show “The Fall,” there is always a sense of every erotic moment being choreographed by committee. A wisp of pubic hair here, a butt shot there, arch that back, thrust those hips. One, two, three, gasp.