2 out of 5 stars (has some good moments, but is overall bad)
I know I am not the target audience for Book Club. In fact, the only reason I saw it was because I got the times wrong for another movie, and Book Club was the only other option at that time. However, I was fully ready to embrace the film, be surprised, or have a laugh. I wanted to enjoy this movie, but the longer it dragged on, the less inertia its subplots contained, the more I fought back a snooze. It’s a shame, because 2 of the actresses are really good here and deserve better material. Book Club is fitfully funny, but its overlong runtime, sluggish pacing, and lack of focus undermine the chemistry of the four leads. Cross this Club meeting off your calendars. The older women in my audience enjoyed this film, but I unfortunately did not.
Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen have been BFF’s for years, meeting for book club meetings while balancing their own lives. While reading the Fifty Shades trilogy, the quartet decide to embrace life and love in their own way, becoming stronger people individually and as friends.
Diane Keaton is the biggest problem with this movie. The character writing isn’t bad, but Keaton makes her wimpy and boring most of the time, save for one inexplicably good scene where she tells her adult daughters not to worry so much about her in her old age. Jane Fonda is Jane Fonda, for better or worse, but Bergen and Steenburgen provide needed life to the movie and their characters. Steenburgen in particular steals the show, culminating in a hilarious dance number with husband Craig T. Nelson (who also rocks). If only the film around them could be as good.
Book Clubs’ moments of hilarity are outweighed by long stretches of tedium that make you question its purpose. While I certainly laughed enough to keep my butt in the seat (no, it wasn’t Overboard 2018 bad), I nearly dozed off near the end. Fans of the cast may enjoy seeing them together, but anyone else is better off participating in an actual book club.
Rated PG-13 for Sex-Related Material throughout and language