It's not often in Hollywood that the story line is all about the
senior set. You're not going
to dazzle them with youth and beauty.
So you've got to rely on wit, “mature humor,” and a certain
amount of self-deprecation. It
helps that the main characters are all established stars in their own
Diane (Diane Keaton), Vivian (Jane Fonda), Sharon (Candice Bergen),
and Carol (Mary Steenburgen) have been friends forty years.
(The photoshopped image of them all together 40 years ago is
priceless.) They have a Book
Club, but of course the conversation isn't just literary, it's also a
friendship/emotional support group, especially after all this time.
Diane's husband has died recently, and she has two grown daugthers
who keep wanting her to move out to Arizona with them so they can “watch
over her.” Vivian is rich
and owns a luxury hotel, and has had relationships with plenty of men, but
never married, and never settled down, either, preferring to continue to
play the field. Sharon is a
federal judge who got divorced 18 years ago but is still angry about it.
Carol is happily married to Bruce (Craig T. Nelson), but since his
retirement, he's been a bit out of sync.
The book which “the girls” have decided to study is “Fifty
Shades of Grey.” Yes, the
racy one that celebrates sexuality that's a little on the rough side, a
book which gets all the women talking about their own sexuality.
Don't worry, there's no nudity and no “real” sexual encounters
here, but we do get to joke about dating and relationships, including an
extended skit about Viagra.
Diane meets Mitchell (Andy Garcia), who actively courts her, but
she's not sure she's ready, and her daughters are even more unsure about
the idea. Vivian meets an old
flame, Arthur (Don Johnson), and wonders if the spark there can re-ignite.
(And yes, the irony isn't lost on us that it is Don Johnson's
daugther, Dakota, who stars in the “Fifty Shades” series.)
Sharon tries online dating, which actually turns out better than
she thought it would. (Where have you been all this time, Richard Dreyfuss?)
Carol can't seem to connect any more with her husband, whom she
truly loves, which is a different kind of relational malady that the rest
of them really can't help with.
Yes, we have accidentally-falling-in-the-pool while fully clothed
kind of slapstick humor, but it's not all silliness.
Sometimes the women get serious in their conversations (but not for
long), and occasionally even indulge in some sniping, but they retract the
claws quickly and we're back to senior citizen jokes.
Overall, it's lighthearted fun.
Nobody will mistake it for an Oscar contender, but the quality of
the actors involved keeps the motor going.