Fifty Shades of Black

Directed by:  Michael Tiddes

Starring: Marlon Wayans, Kali Hawk, Jane Seymour, Mike Epps, Affion Crockett, and Jenny Zigrino

As I was leaving a showing of Fifty Shades of Black, an irate woman remarked, “Is it too late to get my money back?”  That question succinctly sums up my thoughts on Fifty Shades and I could literally end my review with that question.  But alas, Sobriety Test Movie Reviews must analyze Marlon Wayans’ spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Fifty Shades of Grey is perfect fodder for a comedian.  The film is based on a poorly written erotic romance “thriller” that somehow managed to capture the imagination of women around the world.  Much like Wayans’ initially successful parody of teen horror flicks, Scary Movie, people are ready to be in on the joke about Fifty Shades.  Unfortunately, by relying heavily on penis jokes and unfunny material, Wayans misses the mark.

Hannah (Kali Hawk) is on the verge of graduating from college.  Her roommate Kateesha (Jenny Zigrino) is scheduled to interview an important businessman, Christian Black (Marlon Wayans), for a school publication.  Unfortunately, Kateesha contracts a vicious case of chlamydia and is unable to conduct the interview and sends Hannah in her place.  Hannah is shy, dumpy, and unsure of herself.  She stumbles into Christian Black’s office and bumbles her way through the interview.  Black is intrigued by Hannah’s innocence.  After the interview, he begins to stalk her, showing up at her place of work, at her apartment and at a bar where she is drinking with her friends.  Slowly, Black begins to seduce Hannah and the film follows their seductive courtship.

Fifty Shades of Black
is undoubtedly an early frontrunner for next year’s Razzie Awards, but it could have been so much more.  To Wayans’ credit, there are some jokes that hit the mark and touch directly upon the ridiculousness of the premise behind the original film.  There is commentary on the power dynamic between a naïve college student and an uber rich businessman.  There are also biting jokes on what whips and chains mean to black people (i.e. Glory, 12 Years a Slave, Django Unchained) versus the S & M fantasy for Anastasia and Christian.  Moreover, there are some genuinely funny slapstick moments, and a wild scene based on Whiplash involving “Carol Brady.”

However, Fifty Shades of Black fails as ultimately the script focuses on potty humor rather than smart comedy.  Viewers are treated to multiple shots of male genitalia of all sizes, dirty underwear, and plenty of cringe-inducing imagery.   Lowbrow humor has its place, but the surrounding material has to be funny.  In Fifty Shades of Black, the dialogue is forced, and the characters are simply not amusing.  In particular, the character Kateesha, played by Jenny Zigrino is painful to watch. A white character pretending to assume a ratchet black persona is simply not funny.   What year is this?  Where is the originality?  Marlon Wayans needs to work a lot harder to produce a spoof worth watching.

Fifty Shades of Black
earns a wasted rating.  You will need a multitude of tequila shots to find this film amusing.  Is it too late to get my money back?