3 wedding dress montags out of 5 (average)
Back in 2019, I gave a royal kicking to the geriatrically star-studded Book Club. Of course, a mid-20’s guy probably wasn’t their target demographic, but even still, I distinctly remember being bored mostly due to the film’s inability to commit to its raunchy humor and beguiling choice to separate its 4 powerhouse leads for most of the runtime. Now they’re back with Book Club: The Next Chapter, a surprising improvement on its predecessor that keeps our crew together throughout the adventure and has stronger, more consistent humor that had me and my audience laughing.
Lifelong BFFs Diane (Diane Keaton), Vivian (Jane Fonda), Carol (Mary Steenburgen) and Sharon (Candice Bergen) kept it together Zooming during COVID and are seeking any opportunity to re-enter the world now that travel bans are lifted. That chance comes when the famous stag Vivian announces her pending marriage to Arthur (Don Johnson), which they celebrate by taking an excursion to Italy for Viv’s bachelorette celebration. Chaos soon ensues, but our 4 friends embrace it as they soak in the gorgeous landmarks, Italian Wine, erect statues, and did I mention the Italian Wine?
Book Club: The Next Chapter is the cinematic equivalent of a Snuggie. The script is light and fluffy as they come, the jokes are PG-13ily raunchy, and the leads’ chemistry carries us through it all. I was happy to see this film keep the 4 leads together rather than splitting them off into barely connected subplots and noticed an uptick in lewder jokes from the last one without overdoing it. The audience (expectedly comprised of elderly patrons) laughed at the same things I did and things were paced at a solid clip. It’s the kind of movie you turn on after a long day where you just want to turn your brain off for a couple hours, and I can fully appreciate that. Book Club: The Next Chapter is a worthy next page for this franchise that could either close the book on it or lead to another entry. See it if you enjoyed the last one.
Rated PG-13 for Some Strong Language And Suggestive Material