‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Whipped By Critics As ‘Pulse-Poundingly Bad’

“It plays like an un-asked-for collaboration between the Hallmark and Playboy Channels,” writes TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde

Last Updated: February 9, 2017 @ 8:52 AM

It probably won’t surprise you to hear this, but “Fifty Shades Darker” is getting a sound lashing from critics.

So far, the sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey” has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 10 percent, with only two positive reviews posted Thursday morning. Critics have ripped the movie for having a dull, repetitive plot that fails to generate any heat despite the presence of its lead actress, Dakota Johnson, as well as having “Glengarry Glen Ross” director James Foley in charge of the project.

Whether it’s E.L. James’ novels or the movies adapted from them, the “Fifty Shades” series has proven popular despite near universal pans from critics. However this time around, critics wager that even hardcore fans will be disappointed.

TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde said “Darker” is filled with nothing but “banalities, bromides and blank stares,” adding that it “plays like an un-asked-for collaboration between the Hallmark and Playboy Channels.”

But compared to some other critics, Duralde went easy. Here are some more punishing reviews… and one rare positive one.

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

“Oh there’s some dialogue in-between the carnal coupling, I guess. And Dakota Johnson tries hard – or, at least harder than Jamie Dornan, who mostly acts with his stubble. But what do these two people even see in each other? What ties them together? For a movie about bondage, the stars seem strangely disconnected.”

Rafer Guzman, Newsday

“The year’s first true cinematic travesty has arrived with “Fifty Shades Darker” … An abusive-relationship fantasy about a wide-eyed young innocent and the handsome billionaire who yearns to smack her, this sequel manages the neat trick of being more explicit yet less erotic and far goofier than 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey.” From its dominant top to its submissive bottom, it’s utterly ridiculous.”

Will Ashton, The Playlist

“A cinematic soap opera series as sexy and stimulating as laundry detergent, and featuring far less friction, this painfully soporific sensual sequel somehow becomes even less enticing and rousing than Sam Taylor-Johnson’s tediously compromised original. Actively dull and astoundingly flaccid, the monotonously dreary, everlastingly humdrum BDSM fan fiction franchise can never quite decide if it’d rather be smutty or classy. […]Never has unconventional sex seemed so f***ing boring.”

Brian Orndorf, Blu-Ray.com

“The production dances around such incredible ugliness, preferring to showcase Christian as a suave man who enjoys slipping steel balls into his lover’s vagina, sends vaguely threatening text messages without provocation, digitally pleasures his partner in a full elevator, and performs oral sex on Ana whenever he can. He’s the perfect guy, except for the part where he admits to beating up women to help process his tortured childhood. “Darker” isn’t about to challenge Christian’s dreamboat status, keeping Dornan naked, brooding, and exercising, .”

Jake Wilson, The Age

“As the middle instalment of a trilogy, ‘Darker’ ends with little resolved – but this can be seen as a strength, letting Foley and screenwriter Niall Leonard explore the ambiguities implicit in the story without giving easy answers. What is the difference between dominance and sadism? Can a relationship be reduced to a game with clear-cut rules? And is it possible to submit in the bedroom while retaining autonomy elsewhere? For supposed trash, ‘Darker’ offers a fair amount to ponder.”

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