By Christian DiMartino
At one point in the horrendously horrible new Marlon Wayans car crash, Fifty Shades of Black, the camera turns to Wayans, and he delivers a line. This line is a spin on a quote from Fifty Shades of Grey, and it’s a lazy one. He says, “This is fifty shades of f**king torture.” This line is meant for laughs. It’s not funny. The funny thing, however, is that this line basically explains the experience of watching Fifty Shades of Black.
About ten minutes into the film, when Wayans first appears and displays comic timing so poor it’s cringeworthy, I felt an immediate sadness. I thought back to Requiem for a Dream, a film that showed that he was capable of being more than just goofy. But hell, even his comedies were fairly funny, such as Scary Movie and Don’t Be a Menace.
But now we’ve come to this… this, abortion. Fifty Shades of Black is horrible. So, so horrible. It’s a film that fails on so many levels, I feel like leaving any out will not be fair. Kind of like another God-awful “dark” comedy from this year, Meet the Blacks, Fifty Shades of Black takes everything that is unfunny in the world… and tries claiming that it’s funny. The film opens with Wayans’ stealing people’s cars and suits and what not. Black stereotype. Then there’s a fat, obnoxious white girl who talks like a black girl… but is also, need I remind you, really stupid. The writers of this film and subtlety clearly haven’t met.
Now, let’s dive into the plot. A plot so obvious a nutless monkey could tell you about it. The film is obviously a parody of Fifty Shades of Grey, a film that was obviously open for parody. That was in no way a good film, but yet it still manages to be better than this one. That’s saying something. Essentially, Kali Hawk plays Hannah Steale, a college student who goes to interview Christian Black (Wayans) one day and becomes entangled in his world of bondage and blah blah blah no need to dive into story.
I watched this film because I heard it was horrible, and I honestly sometimes wonder if I’m a sadist. I mean, unlike the characters in this movie, chains and whips don’t excite me. But I like a challenge sometimes. Fifty Shades of Black is too much of a challenge.
So many jokes fall horribly flat, whether it’s in terms of delivery, or they’re dragged on. Or, to put it simply, they’re not funny. Or, because none of the actors have any comic timing that works. Honestly, it’s all of the above. Scary Movie wasn’t a great comedy, but for what it was, it worked, because it knew what it parodied, and parodied it well. This film tries to parody Whiplash, Magic Mike, and other things, without sticking to its topic. The problem with a lot of parodies these days. Not only that, it parodies what it parodies, and doesn’t add any sort of spin to it. Look at films like Airplane. Stupid, yes, but the jokes were stupid to the point where you could sense creativity.
Now, back to Scary Movie for a second. Even though I like it, I admit that some jokes don’t work, such as when Greg (Jim Abrams) comes all over the place. Scenes like that were just gross, weird, awkward, and fell flat. It’s as if Fifty Shades of Black is only going for those jokes. Hence why… it doesn’t work.
Well trust me, that’s not the only reason why it doesn’t work. There’s way too many reasons, if you couldn’t tell. This is, without question, one of the worst films of the year so far.