There is no way to really know how long a movie has been sitting in production for, especially due to COVID. However, handling that subject matter has to be done in some form of grace. It has to have a relative reason for existing. There are some films that do this just to show a time period and does it in a way that is almost tacky and uncomfortable. Doing this sets a weird tone for the entire film.
In Book Club: The Next Chapter, their awful handing of COVID comes and goes after the first twenty minutes of the movie. This handling certainly makes those first twenty minutes uncomfortable. Thankfully, it ultimately doesn’t impact the story in any way shape or form. Their trip leading to Italy, a country which at one point had a very high death rate and infection rate. It led audiences to believe this may truly be the final chapter. But alas the movie remains a light comedy.
Book Club: The Next Chapter focuses on four friends who get together after an extended period of time apart. It focuses on Vivian, Carol, Diane and Judge/Sharon played by Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen, Diane Keaton and Candice Bergen respectfully. Upon their regathering and chatting, they’re catching up and its brought up that they were supposed to go to Italy all those years ago. Sadly, their plans changed and they never ended up going on that trip of a lifetime.
But then, Vivian announces her engagement to Arthur (Don Johnson), which leads to a lot of hemming and hawing. The group eventually convince each other it’s a good idea and decides its time to fulfil their dream vacation and go to Italy for Vivian’s engagement party. Of course, there is a bunch of bumps in the road to and on their journey to Italy. But it wouldn’t be a vacation movie if somethings weren’t chaotic.
Considering the film hinges on its cast the ensemble here truly shines like they did in the first installment. There aren’t any life altering stakes throughout the movie, like some of these other movies that focus on an elderly cast. These women are just enjoying life. It’s a film about people just enjoying their friendships and life itself. Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen are on the top of their class. Their chemistry and believability that they’ve been friends for decades is truly palatable.
What makes movies like Book Club: The Next Chapter work is the chemistry shared amongst its main cast. These four ladies are in their twilight years. They are truly just having fun making movies that they just enjoy doing. It is light and fluffy and just is an excuse to have fun, which there is nothing wrong with. There is nothing life changing or affirming with Book Club: The Next Chapter. But if you’re looking for something light and fluffy and just a general good time that lets you escape life’s hardships than Book Club: The Next Chapter is the perfect movie for you.
- Rated: PG-13
- Genre: Comedy
- Release Date: 5/12/2023
- Directed by: Bill Holderman
- Starring: Andy Garcia. Craig T. Nelson, Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Don Johnson, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen
- Produced by: Bill Holderman, Erin Simms
- Written by: Bill Holderman, Erin Simms
- Studio: Apartment Story, Fifth Season, Makeready