By Liz Lopez        

Rating: C+

I have viewed the trailer for the film “Book Club” for a couple of months and anticipated viewing it, despite feeling pretty sure that the story would be entirely too predictable by debuting director Bill Holderman and his co-writer Erin Simms. It has a great cast, but they can only do so much with the script. The performances are wonderful and there is some humor in the film that was not yet revealed in the trailers. Certainly, there is a huge demographic that will be highly likely to want to see the film in the theater, but I strongly recommend to save their movie bucks and go see it at a matinee price or on the “Discount Day” some theaters may offer.   

I am not spoiling much for this film when I say that there are four female friends with a long term book club who take turns making suggestions of what to read for the next meeting they plan to have. The suggestion is made to read E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” and although it is met by some resistance, they all go for it and explore where this takes them while living in Los Angeles.

Vivian (Jane Fonda) is single and runs a hotel. Sharon (Candice Bergen) is a federal judge who is divorced from Tom (Ed Begley, Jr.) who now has a young fiancé Cheryl (Mircea Monroe). Diane (Diane Keaton) is a recent widow, living independently of her adult children. Carol (Mary Steenburgen) is a restaurateur and her newly retired husband, Bruce (Craig T. Nelson), is having trouble adjusting to live after work.

All of the characters are independent and successful women in their own right, but perhaps they paid attention to a society that seems to think there has to be “love” for them out there and not be alone.  Vivian says she has plenty of suitors, but when her former beau Arthur (Don Johnson) arrives, she thinks twice about where she is in life. Diane bumps into an aviator Mitchell (Andy Garcia) and he is attracted to her. However, she has daughters who seem to think she has no business having a life of her own. Sharon decides to do online dating and accepts a date with George (Richard Dreyfuss) and with one other later date (played by Wallace Shawn). Carol takes matters into her own hands as she tries to “fix” her husband post-retirement.

Of all the characters, my favorite is Sharon (Bergen) who has the best lines in the entire script as a federal judge who “lets her hair down” after she begins dating. She still has it for comedy and every scene she is in made me belt out laughing. If I am invited to see this film by a friend who has not viewed it, the only reason I would go back is just to see Bergen’s performance.

“Book Club” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, no matter what the age of viewer. I loved seeing all the actors together, but casting Andy Garcia as Diane Keaton’s love interest is a bit of a stretch in my book. I just had a hard time seeing any real chemistry on screen between those two actors. Garcia is fantastic with a cute gleam in his eye and raised eyebrow that had me melt, but Keaton’s character is written up to be the same type of character as she usually plays, time after time. Nope, I do not buy it.

“Book Club” opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, May 18th

 Source: Paramount Pictures

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