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Book Club  : Not A Best-seller
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Friday, May 25, 2018
Bill Holderman
Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen

Chick flicks are passe. But it doesn’t get any better when the chicks are senior citizens out for kicks.  


What do Diane, Sharon, Vivian and Carol have in common? They’re four close friends who have their own little book club where they meet every month to discuss a book picked by one of them in rotation. The book is incidental, their sex lives are central.


Diane hasn’t had sex in a while – her husband died about a year ago.


Sharon’s a federal judge who’s divorced and has been celibate for 18 years.


Vivian’s a hot-shot hotelier and single because she’s so good at “risk assessment”. But she’s like a high school girl on her first date when old crush Arthur turns up at her hotel.


Carol’s the only one who’s still got a husband. But though Bruce loves her, he’s turned on more by his old motorbike than by his wife.


You can imagine their fantasies and conversations when their book of the month is – yes, it’s the predictable 50 Shades Of Grey.


Writer-director Bill Holderman tries hard to make an entertainer that also says, everybody’s entitled to happiness, age no bar. But it ends up a bit like an outdated Mills & Boon with amushy, predictable romance for each of the women.


Diane has grown-up daughters who want her to be with them in Arizona because they truly believe she’s over the hill and needs to be ‘parented’. Relatable situation. But fantasy kicks in when on the flight to her daughters’ home, the dream man has the seat next to her. And he’s really interested in her.


Federal judge Sharon has a hilarious scene or two when she goes on-line to check on her ex-husband and her junior in the chamber hears a few embarrassing comments loud and clear. She meets George straight off a dating site.


Vivian goes through teenage coffee dates, sorry, milkshake dates with Arthur, until the un-surprising happy ending.


And Carol finally manages to turn on Bruce.


Just when you think Holderman has exhausted all the banality possible, Arthur turns up on the terrace with a lovely view to tell Vivian that a million anonymous admirers don’t mean as much as one special person. Whoa, how many times have you heard that one before?


The greatly redeeming feature of this frivolous outing is the to-die-for cast. Candice Bergen, as gorgeous as ever, with Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton and Mary Steenburgen make a delightful quartet. A few glimpses of old charmers Andy Garcia and Richard Dreyfuss is a value add-on.


Verdict: If only the story and screenplay were wittier and worthy of the star presence, we could’ve had a more successful cinematic version of Desperate Housewives.


For a cheerful, feed-good film with stellar stalwarts that loses steam because the writing’s so full of platitudes, Book Club gets a 2.5* rating.


Direction: 2.5/5
Story: 2/5

Screenplay: 2/5
Music: 2.5/5

Dialogues: 2/5


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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