Am I The Only One Who Loves … Book Club?

Comedian Anna Roisman speaks up in defense of a movie with a staggering all-star cast (about older women reading Fifty Shades of Grey).

When you hear the words “book club,” you probably think of your mom’s Tuesday night hang with a few friends, a bowl of peanut M&Ms, crackers and cheese, and a bottle of sauvignon blanc, right? For me, I think about Book Club, a cinematic masterpiece featuring some of the most elite actresses of our time. Does a movie premise really matter when you have stars you didn’t know needed to be on-screen together? I’m gonna say no, and with confidence. Who would have thought that in 2018 a film would shed light on the highly controversial activity of middle-class housewives reading books to discuss them together once a month as an excuse to get lit? Are we out of ideas? Maybe. Is this something more people should be hip to? Probably not. But that’s why Book Club proves the famous saying, “Anything can be a movie if you cast Diane Keaton in it.” And to be fair, I’m not a housewife, yet, but by the end of this piece, I’ll be opening up a general email for you to join my personal book club.

In case you missed Book Club in theaters, all you need to do is book a flight immediately, because a lot of airlines have picked this gem up! The movie is about four best friends who have (somehow) had a book club for 30 years, and when they read 50 Shades Of Grey, their sex lives are reignited. Sounds like your Aunt Sharon in 2011 when she raved about the sexy book after her trip to Bermuda, right? (The weather wasn’t the only thing that was hot!) Now when I first saw this movie, I had the same thought you’re having. Really? Haven’t we moved past 50 Shades? We’ve had a whole franchise of books and movies come out and yet it’s the most important plot point in this movie. But once I realized that this was an incredible publicity stunt, I was here for the ride and hopefully you are too – strap in! I mean, strap on! (Sorry, not sorry.)

It’s not often that a book and movie franchise has a second big cultural moment this soon after having been released. Not only is this is a power move, but it also parallels the sex lives of our lead characters! You know, women over 65 who haven’t seen their full sexual potential in years are suddenly “doing it” again all over California. But what I’ve come to realize, is, of course these women wouldn’t know about 50 Shades of Grey until years past its prime. Women of a certain age are clueless! (Not my own beliefs, this is according to mainstream media and people in politics, but that’s for another piece, another time!) If pop culture works its way from generation to generation, then thank God it reached these women in 2018 to give us the brave and provocative journey in Book Club.

I have to give a standing o (or just an o!) to the four powerhouse actresses who carried this movie. They play the most honest, relatable, horny women, and together they are a perfect slice of white privilege cake. Mary Steenburgen (who hasn’t slept with her husband in decades and is desperate for it), Candice Bergen (who hasn’t dated for decades until she gets inspired by 50 Shades), Jane Fonda (who hasn’t seriously dated someone in decades but has sex quite a bit), and Diane Keaton (a widow who probably hasn’t had sex in centuries because that’s how it gets when you age, right?). Of the group, Jane Fonda plays our “Samantha” with “Big Dick Energy.” She’s hot and she knows it, but she can’t commit to someone. Diane Keaton plays Diane (talk about a screenwriter’s favorite!) and her daughters think because she’s a widow, she can’t do anything or else she’ll fall down and die. They’re not supportive at all, which only makes Diane want to rebel more! So she starts sleeping with a hot pilot (Andy García), to show her daughters she’s still got it! These women aren’t sad, though, they have lots of money, and wine, and off-white clothing. When they decide to jump on the Christian Grey train, we see a complete 180 by the end of the movie. Spoiler: they have tons of sex. They set the world straight and prove to us that you can have sex after 65, you just need a book to set you free!

This movie has a 54 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes basically because critics weren’t into watching too many veteran actors and a mediocre script. Whoever wrote those reviews clearly has never seen … a TV show in the past five years? Book Club gives us exactly what we crave when it comes to entertainment; sex, friendship, sexy friendships, and literature. Did I say literature?! That’s right. This movie sparked a flame inside me that made me want to read again! Everyone takes away something different. If you’re a fan of rom coms, or any of these actresses, I can’t stress how great this movie is. It was completely snubbed last award season, but luckily Delta is keeping it afloat. Literally … in the air.

Anna Roisman is a comedian, writer, actor, creator, producer, and host in NYC. Anna is the host of HQ Words, a word puzzle game from the creators of HQ Trivia. Anna’s work has been featured in the Tribeca Film Festival, New York TV Festival, Just For Laughs in Montreal, People magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Funny Or Die, Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and more. She is the creator of The Unemployed Show and co-producer and host of Quickie Fest: The One Minute Movie Festival in NYC. Anna hosts the live comedy shows, “Revival” and “Fashion Puhleeze,” and sings with The Losers Lounge at Joe’s Pub & City Winery. For reels, press, and information, check out AnnaRoisman.com.