BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER

★★★

FROM 'FIFTY SHADES' TO ITALY

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Chris Dos Santos
8th May 2023

I am not going to call 2018's 'Book Club' a cinematic masterpiece (even though it is), but the tale of four older women reading 'Fifty Shades of Grey' as part of their monthly book club is just too delightful not to indulge in. And I was not the only one - with a budget of US$14 million it grossed over US$100 million worldwide, an impressive feat for a film with an older-skewing demographic. The gang is returning, and this time they are going international for a very important event.

Not even the COVID-19 pandemic could stop this group of friends from meeting. Now moving to zoom, Diane (Diane Keaton, 'Poms', 'Finding Dory'), Vivian (Jane Fonda, '80 for Brady', 'Youth'), Sharon (Candice Bergen, 'Home Again', 'Bride Wars') and Carol (Mary Steenburgen, 'Happiest Season', 'Nightmare Alley') still meet to discuss their monthly book. But as the world shut down, a lot of things changed in their personal lives and now free to meet up again, Vivian revels she has been engaged to by Arthur (Don Johnson, 'Knives Out', 'The Other Woman')! With the travel ban being lifted, the girls decide to finally head to Italy like they have always dreamed for one ultimate bachelorette party.

SWITCH: 'BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER' TRAILER

Little a bottle of wine, what's in this film is presented to us on the label. These women are just delightful together, and we are invited to witness their hijinks unfold as they travel through Italy. While it still has the raunchy humour from the first, it's more so the silly antics that take the focus of this run time. The sell here isn't the plot, it's Keaton, Fonda, Bergen and Steenburgen having the time of their lives, and I'm absolutely here for it.

Returning director/writer Bill Holderman isn't trying to reinvent the wheel here in his second feature, it's the purest example of if it's not broke don't fix it. That's not saying this film is bland - it's just on both the filmmaking front and audience's expectation they know what they want and that's what we get - and it's a delightful, funny time.

These women are just delightful together, and we are invited to witness their hijinks unfold as they travel through Italy. While it still has the raunchy humour from the first, it's more so the silly antics that take the focus of this run time.

'Book Club: The Next Chapter' is more of the same, and honestly that's exactly what I wanted. This is a fun romp around Italy with some veteran actors just having the time of their lives with funny and heartwarming results. You could pull it apart, but instead pour a big glass of wine (the amount of wine drunk in these two films I swear would kill a person) and simply enjoy this molto bene trip!

The credits also has song performed by the leading ladies, and I just want to thank everyone involved for ruining my Spotify Wrapped with that genius idea!

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