Fifty Shades of Black, the Marlon Wayans’ parody of the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey, was a letdown for moviegoers hoping for more than slapstick comedy. The film was released on Friday, and reviews across the board say that the only thing the film succeeds at is it’s latent racist and sexist undertones.
Fifty Shades of Black sticks very closely to the original Fifty Shades of Grey misguided plotline, full of holes and missing any real direction. For those who somehow managed to miss the mass hysteria that was Fifty Shades of Grey, the original movie (and best selling book) chronicles the tale of virginal Anastasia Steele’s eventual love affair with a very kinky, twisted, and wealthy Christian Grey.
In the parody, Marlon Wayans plays Christian Black (aka Grey) and Kali Hawk plays Hannah (aka Anastasia Steele) and according to reviews, the sex scenes start much sooner than in the original movie. Black’s fetish for BDSM leaves some viewers uncomfortable, as the whips he uses in the movie tend to resemble those used to whip slaves in the movies Django Unchained, and 12 Years A Slave. The movie also touches on the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
Unlike Christian Grey, Christian Black is apparently terrible in bed.Wayans says the movie is, “like Fifty Shades of Grey if Christian Grey was black and he was rich, but we don’t know exactly how he got his money, he’s a little shady, and he’s a really bad lover.”
Katie Rife at AV Club said in her review about the Fifty Shades of Black Movie, “But even as it takes jabs at its source material’s quality, Fifty Shades Of Black suffers from similarly half-baked writing. Dialogue scenes between Wayans and Hawk all feel like abandoned stand-up bits, like an extended exchange of Cuba Gooding Jr. quotes…”
The parody also takes jabs at feminism and really plays up the stalker aspect of Christian Grey’s character in the original movie. Christian Black makes jokes about raping women, roofies, Bill Cosby and there’s even a scene where Black tricks a blindfolded woman into having sex with him without a condom.
Martin Tsai of the LA Times talks about the latent sexism and racism in the movie in his review, “In this spoof, Marlon Wayans and Kali Hawk reenact scenes from the BDSM opus as though E.L. James’ characters no longer have filters on their id….As a piece of cultural criticism, however, it painstakingly eviscerates nearly every scene in ‘Grey’ and skewers latent sexism, classicism and ludicrous sexual innuendos, as well as the original’s numerous plot holes…Wayans and Rick Alvarez, who co-wrote the screenplay, expose how tropes of romantic courtship in movies serve to objectify women and promote rape culture.”
Florence Henderson even makes an appearance in the parody, as Black’s much older piano teacher from years past. Henderson’s character pays homage to ‘Mrs Robinson’ and apparently she’s the reason that Black has grown up to be so sexually deficient.
While the original movie ends with Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey locking eyes as she leaves in an elevator; in the parody Hannah gets her head slammed between the elevator doors as she’s leaving, in typical parody movie fashion.
At any rate, the Fifty Shades of Black movie is what anyone can expect from a parody; lowbrow comedy, a few funny one liners and in this case, misguided sexual antics. Most people will find that it’s dumb jokes are more funny than offensive, and people who thought the original Fifty Shades of Grey was terrible just might appreciate the ridiculousness.
[Photo credits: Getty Images/Gustavo Caballero & Wikipedia]