Fifty Shades of Black review

There is a scene in Fifty Shades of Black where Christian Black is torturing a tied-up Hannah Steale by reading to her from the novel Fifty Shades of Grey. "This book is 50 shades of fucking terrible. Who wrote this, a third grader?" he screams. And the audience might well ask the same question of the script for this latest Wayans parody.

Wayans is Christian Black (a spoof of Christian Grey, geddit?). He's a filthy rich businessman who supposedly got his millions "the way most black entrepreneurs got theirs – drug dealing". Although he can't be all that rich because the film opens with a sequence of him stealing a woman's handbag, a new suit and a fancy sports car. He meets sweet, shy and unassuming Hannah Steale (a spoof of Anastasia Steele, geddit?) wwhen she comes to interview him for the college newspaper. From there, Fifty Shades of Black sticks very closely to the original (and pretty lame) Fifty Shades of Grey plotline with occasional segues to spoof other films such as Whiplash and Magic Mike. The big difference between the two films though is that unlike Grey, Black is terrible in bed and has a really small penis.

Fifty Shades of Black is sexist, racist and offensive – all of which would be forgivable if it was funny. But it just isn't. The only scene that could possibly raise a smirk or a snigger is Henderson channeling JK Simmons as Mrs Robinson, Black's sexually domineering former piano teacher. It's such a shame, because Wayans is clearly a talented performer and has enough clout in Hollywood to keep getting the money to make these terrible parodies (he was also involved in the Haunted House films and a couple of the Scary Movies). The biggest question that springs to mind after watching Fifty Shades of Black is why bother parodying something that is so beyond parody? Fifty Shades of Grey does read as though it was written by someone who never studied grammar. Or had ever even read a book. How this terrible novel became such a huge phenomenon in the first place is a complete mystery, and is probably a bigger joke than any of the ones that take place in this poor excuse for a movie. A parody should always be funnier than the work it is sending up, and Fifty Shades of Black fails on even that score. It's really time for Hollywood to give the whole "parody" thing a rest for a while. Either that or bring back Brooks and the Zuckers...

Podcast: Fifty Shades of WTF?
Interview: Marlon Wayans on Fifty Shades of Black

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