The Fantastic Unintentional Comedy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

By  · Published on February 6th, 2017

Author E.L. James has created a laugh riot in a tale of many elevators.

The Fifty Shades of Grey franchise is about to unleash a new chapter of the Christian Grey/Anastasia Steele romance that has tantalized readers and viewers everywhere. Fifty Shades Darker continues the affair between the two lovers and our only hope is that the film is as funny as the original. While that might not have been the intention of the actors and writers; there is no denying the ridiculousness that is conveyed on the screen.

Fifty Shades of Grey is an easy target because the movie actually believes it is sexy. From the very first notes of “I Put A Spell On You”, the laughs begin in earnest. What exactly is sexy about a man who wants to control a woman for his own pleasure? There is little evidence on display to convince he is anything more than a manipulative stalker. I mean he doesn’t even let Ana eat her toast in piece.

How anyone can watch this scene and not laugh is beyond me.

The roots of Fifty Shades of Grey begin in fan fiction. E.L. James wanted to write a story based on the characters of the Twilight series, but instead of having Edward be a vampire, he is a successful business man with a secret. Instead of Belle and Edward, it was to be Christian and Anastasia, with minimal differences. That was all it took for it to become a massive hit. The biggest problem with fan fiction is that most (not all) of it is hastily written. That is perhaps what makes Fifty Shades of Grey so funny.

Check out these iconic quotes from the movie and try not to laugh:

“Because I’m fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia.”

“Well, if you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week…”

“I don’t make love. I fuck… hard.”

“You’re mine. All mine. You understand?”

Most of these quotes are from Christian to Ana. There’s nothing about his language that conveys his ability to think about anyone other than himself. It is crazy that audiences found this movie to be even a little bit erotic.

Perhaps the funniest sequence in the film comes from when Christian and Ana are negotiating a contract for their sexual relationship. Ana insists that it should be a professional meeting, in Christian’s office, but this is the most bizarre negotiation I’ve ever seen. The way they are talking about sexual needs and wants; they are just so frank about the discussion.

Furthermore, there is no way to believe that while during her research into all these various sexual acts, that she never came to understand what a butt plug could be.

For most of Fifty Shades of Grey this crazy relationship continues. If Ana gets upset or angry, Christian makes it up to her with flying her in a helicopter or glider. These scenes exist solely to get him off the hook and feature some of the hit music from the film. Even if he decides to follow her to her parents house for no good reason whatsoever, because he can’t help how controlling he is. He is a terribly broken man who needs saving from his unhealthy appetite. While Ana is wondering if she can save him, I’m sitting there telling her to run away.

Could Jamie Dornan look anymore bored?

Honestly, I’m not sure anyone could’ve delivered the lines in this movie with any kind of respectability, but it is incredible just how bad Jamie Dornan can be. As far as pure comedic value goes, his performance is a gem. As if Christian Grey could be anymore unlikable as a protagonist, Dornan incredibly makes him a wooden caricature of a man. Completely stoic and unfeeling, it’s hard to believe he derives pleasure from anything, even his BDSM adventures. Dakota Johnson tries her best, but she is far more seductive and alluring in A Bigger Splash, than she ever is here. The only alarming issue that comes from her performance in Fifty Shades of Grey is that she must have a serious need for some lip balm after biting her lip so much.

Certainly the biggest applause has to be given to E.L. James who has spearheaded the adaptation of her best selling series. After the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, she suddenly decided she wasn’t happy with how the film turned out. Perhaps she believed someone could’ve done a better job with it. James felt that director Sam Taylor-Johnson didn’t convey the message she wanted to showcase with the film. She also believed too much of it was written out. So, she told Universal they had to hire her husband, Niall Leonard, to write Fifty Shades Darker. That doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence about the sequel, but hey, maybe another unintentional comedy is coming.

Much has been written about Fifty Shades of Grey and the idea of depicting unhealthy relationships and making BDSM the scapegoat. Those ideas are nothing to laugh at and perhaps that’s where the events depicted on screen become terrifying instead of funny. That being said, much of Fifty Shades of Grey is ripe with poor acting, horrible dialog, and a writer who believes her work is high art. This is a story that should probably stay behind closed elevator doors, but when Fifty Shades of Grey tries to be sexy it is just so easy to laugh.

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News Writer/Columnist for Film School Rejects. It’s the Pictures Co-host. Bylines Playboy, ZAM, Paste Magazine and more.