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"Fifty Shades of Grey" reviews: Does the film satisfy?


That's what one of the many promotional posters for "Fifty Shades of Grey" asked in the months of buildup (or is it foreplay?) leading up to the film's release this weekend.

It's not a bad question to ask -- even those who haven't read EL James' smash-hit about an innocent college student and S&M-loving billionaire might be wondering if the film adaptation will live up to the novel's steamy hype.

Now, with "Fifty Shades" hitting the big screen on Friday (though there are some Thursday night screenings for those who just can't wait), critics are sharing their takes on the film and its stars, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.

Read on to see what some of them had to say:

"It's a slow build to the smutty bits, and one that's disappointingly devoid of tension. Even so, the movie is, by definition, a stronger proposition than the book because it strips away the oodles of cringe-inducing descriptions and internal monologue that tip the text heavily toward self-parody." -- Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter.

"Director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel have brought out a welcome element of cheeky, knowing humor that gradually recedes as the action plunges into darker, kinkier territory. Glossy, well cast, and a consistent hoot until it becomes a serious drag, this neo-'9½ Weeks' is above all a slick exercise in carefully brand-managed titillation -- edgier than most grown-up studio fare, but otherwise a fairly mild provocation in this porn-saturated day and age." -- Justin Chang, Variety.

"The movie version appears to be aimed at a younger consumer crowd than the readers (albeit a crowd qualified for R-rated entertainment). In any event, the result is confounding, leaving both those coming to the 'Fifty Shades' phenomenon for the first time as well as those who have read the book to wonder, for different reasons, Where's the beef?" -- Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly.

"The chemistry between Johnson and Dornan is decent, even if they do seem to be acting in different movies. Dornan's Christian is a humorless caricature, while Johnson's Ana is actually quite likable, funny and strong-willed. In a film full of flaws, Johnson is an undeniable bright spot." -- Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press.

"Those looking for hot, kinky sex will be disappointed. Fewer than 15 of the movie's 125 minutes feature sex scenes. Discussion of contracts and objections over line items outweigh erotica. Even the graphic nudity grows numbing." -- Claudia Puig, USA Today.

"Free of full-frontal nudity and excessive thrusting and, well, orgasming as this movie is, it never gets to that envelope-pushing place. Which I suspect will disappoint many people, understandably. Oh well. Maybe I'm a sex-shaming prude, but I didn't mind getting the less explicit version, because the movie is at its best when it keeps things swift and light." -- Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair.

"If you're a fan of the book (and Lord knows, y'all are legion), then this flawed adaptation will sit just right. Johnson and Dornan are certainly better cast than, say, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were for 'Twilight,' and they're absolutely watchable. If, though, you happen to notice an undercurrent of terror in Johnson and Dornan's performances, a look on their faces that says 'Holy nipple clamps, what have we gotten ourselves into?,' do try to be sympathetic. The mega-fame they're in for comes with liberal doses of pleasure and pain." -- Alynda Wheat, People.

Tell us: Do you plan to see "Fifty Shades of Grey"?

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