This franchise is definitely critic-proof, but the reviews are still pretty funny.
The "Fifty Shades" film franchise has finally reached its climax. After adaptations of author E. L. James' "Fifty Shades of Grey" and "Fifty Shades Darker" comes "Fifty Shades Freed." The third movie, starring Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele) and Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey), opens this Friday, February 9.
The initial "Freed" reviews are in and -- as you can imagine -- it's no "Dunkirk."
Critics are still uploading their reviews, and sharing with Rotten Tomatoes, but right now the third movie has the lowest score of the franchise -- just 5 percent. Granted that's from only 21 reviews so far, as of Thursday morning. But the first film managed 25 percent (with a 41 percent audience score), and the second film had a 10 percent rating from critics (and 49 from the RT users).
Here are some of the less-than-satisfied critics' comments about "Freed":
Leigh Paatsch, News Corp Australia Network:
"That's right, after the first two tempestuous movie kink-a-thons from author EL James seduced the world box-office and made off with over a billion dollars, 'Fifty Shades Freed' is here to zip up, give you a quick peck on the cheek, and disappear.
The whole experience has been like a bad Tinder date that lasted three years.
The best that can be said of 'Fifty Shades Freed' is that it offers the lasting relief of knowing the franchise won't ever be calling for another hook-up."
Kimber Myers, The Playlist:
"The third film in the 'Fifty Shades' trilogy thinks its most shocking moment is when a reluctant Ana (a reluctant Dakota Johnson) opens a drawer full of fancy butt plugs in her new husband's glam sex dungeon, aka the "Red Room."
However, "Fifty Shades Freed" gets a far bigger WTF when it punishes its audience by making them sit through minutes of Christian (Jamie Dornan, still physically present) playing the piano and singing "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney for no particular reason to the inexplicable awe of his wife and friends. You'd think that by the third film we'd be used to this nonsense, but our threshold for pain still hasn't risen high enough to find this pleasurable. [...]
A hungry audience does get a sex scene where a pint of Ben & Jerry's Vanilla reappears in a nod to "Fifty Shades Darker," but like most of the movie, it's less sexy than it is silly."
Stephen Whitty, New York Daily News:
"It remains to be seen what Anastasia actually does as a top-notch fiction editor besides telling someone to "make the font two points bigger." And why are [Jack] Hyde's eyes always red? Has he been crying? Did he finally read the script?
There's certainly a sexy movie in the story of an S&M, B&D, master/slave relationship. In fact, they already made it — "9 1/2" weeks, with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke. At least that film had a couple of adults in it and some genuine passion.
But Johnson and Dornan never connect. She rolls her eyes like a cranky teenager. He stares at her like a constipated cow. Even in bed, they act like they're in separate rooms."
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly:
"Strip the pleasure away from a guilty pleasure and what are you left with exactly? Fifty Shades Freed, the third and final cinematic installment in E.L. James' trashy S&M trilogy, answers that question with every ludicrous plot twist, stilted line delivery, and too-laughable-to-be-hot sex scene. [...]
There was a time back in the early '90s, when steamy erotic thrillers like this unspooled on Cinemax in the wee hours seemingly all the time. They had interchangeable names like Animal Instincts, Body Chemistry, and Sins of Desire. They seemed to sprout up like toadstools in the wake of commercial big-studio hits like Fatal Attraction, 9 ½ Weeks, and Basic Instinct. Those films weren't very good either. But they at least seemed to embrace their own trashiness without shame. They had a certain integrity about their awfulnesss.
Fifty Shades Freed is certainly slicker than those carnal cheapies. But it seems embarrassed to embrace its own pervy nature. It's kitsch that looks in the mirror and deludes itself into thinking it sees art staring back."
David Crow, Den of Geek:
"[Director James] Foley tries to make the sex scenes less repetitive (not that he succeeds) with some crosscuts between punishment and morning after revelry here, or some ice cream-smeared foreplay there. Yet when this reviewer is left to wonder whether Ben & Jerry's would want to pay for that kind of product placement, it likely is not having the intended effect. (Seriously though, was there a discussion of should they be lathering each other in "Chunky Monkey" or "The Tonight Dough?")"
Some critics did have some kind words:
Roger Moore, Movie Nation:
"At least this time, some of the laughs are intentional."
Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics:
"I'm going to start with something that will shock you as much as it shocks me:
Fifty Shades Freed isn't terrible.
The least incompetent of the adaptations of E.L. James's mommy porn wish fulfillment novels ties up the kink-heavy romance of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and her billionaire lover/dominant Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) tighter than a zip knot in his infamous Red Room. While still wildly improbable and unintentionally funny more often than not, this third chapter finally gives Ana a voice in this relationship other than to call out her safe word."
Manuela Lazic, IndieWire:
"The previous films made that clear without critiquing it, often by portraying Ana's distress in the hands of the domineering and uncommunicative Christian (a character who, admittedly, many readers and viewers find attractive). Alternatively, the films' over-seriousness rendered them self-divided enterprises. The sleek, dry style made even the most adventurous sexual acts seem ludicrous.
In "Freed," by contrast, sex is often funny, because Ana wants it that way. She even makes Christian partake in the cliche of licking food off of a partner's body — in a deliberate echo of the honey-dripping sequence in "9 ½ Weeks," Ana finds a new application for Ben & Jerry's ice cream and turns that famous sexual game into a more reciprocal exchange than it was in Adrian Lyne's film."
"Fifty Shades Freed" opens in theaters on Friday, February 9th.
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