Overachieving Spoofing: A Review of ‘Fifty Shades of Black’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - January 29, 2016
Overachieving Spoofing: A Review of ‘Fifty Shades of Black’

I kid you not, as long as you are patient and wait long enough, you’ll see just about everything in this crazy business that they call show.

While still not a good movie by any means, Fifty Shades of Black does successfully manage some genuine laughs by lampooning ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ so goddamn well that the spoof actually surpasses the original material because it knows when to take itself seriously, and when to take the piss right out of itself.

The team behind A Haunted House come together to make fun of one of the more popular pieces of literature in modern memory and its multi-million grossing film adaptation, in this story of a shy and inexperienced young college girl (Kali Hawk) getting seduced by an enigmatic businessman (Marlon Wayans) with some shall we say unique proclivities in the bedroom.

Hardly anything great or even anything that I can strongly recommend, but shockingly enough when the jokes hit they hit dead center and manage to lampoon the Fifty Shades of Grey movie and franchise with such shocking accuracy that you just can’t help but laugh.


Director Michael Tiddes is well versed in the spoofing universe and matches so much of the tone of the source material in order to make the jokes hit home even harder.  It flows well and in many ways makes us feel like it is happening much like it would in the original book, minus of course the vicious comedic skewering.  The script from Rick Alvarez and star Marlon Wayans has some genuinely sharp moments as you can tell how they must have dove head first into the source material to make jokes that are truly funny and on point.  Granted it does have its fair share of lazy humor throughout, but unlike this month’s previous comedic entry; Dirty Grandpa it never forgets that the first priority of a comedy is to actually make people laugh, and to its credit it pulls that off a fair bit throughout.

In what maybe one of the better comedic performances of his entire career, Marlon Wayans dives into the insecure psycho-sexual nature of the Christian character and mines it for every ounce of comedy that he can actually get.  He walks the line between goofy and creepy with aplomb and sustains the over the top nature of it all surprisingly well as it never gets tired.  Kali Hawk as Hannah is fine enough and does get a couple of moments to shine from a comedic standpoint but spends most of her time playing off of Wayans who is doing the bulk of the heavy lifting as per the norm.  Sadly the rest of the ensemble tends to blend into the background, in spite of some fun bits featuring Jane Seymour, Fred Willard, Mike Epps and Affion Crockett.

Ultimately this movie is a rare thing, because I can’t remember the last time that the spoof surpassed the source material in quality and while Fifty Shades of Black is far from a great or a perfect film, if you needed a few laughs this weekend, you could do a hell of a lot worse.50shadesofblack

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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