Though spoof films have remained a staple in Hollywood, the genre has gone from clever to a joke in and of itself. What’s worse is that the jokes have only gotten worse over the years. With Fifty Shades of Black, that trend remains the same. The last spoof film that I can remember being genuinely funny was Scary Movie 2 (2001). A huge part of that film’s success was the writing which was done by Marlon and Shawn Wayans. Seeing as Fifty Shades of Black was co-written by Marlon Wayans, who is also the lead, I had some high hopes coming into the film.
For better or worse, every spoof film stays contained within the period of the films they mimic. Based on the trailers, Fifty Shades of Black humorously mirrors not only Fifty Shades of Grey but Magic Mike and Whiplash. Aside from Wayans, the film also stars Kali Hawk as the female lead in the film. Along with the appearances of familiar faces such as Mike Epps, Jane Seymour and Affion Crockett.
The film itself certainly had a great film to parody in Fifty Shades of Grey, but failed to do so consistently by focusing on blatant humor as opposed to clever writing. By blatant humor I mean the use of graphic images or racial stereotypes that were exaggerated beyond reasonable comprehension. Case in point, Hawk’s best friend in the film is played by Jenny Zigrino. Her character was so idiotic and one dimensional that every time she appeared on screen she would suck me right out of the film (no pun intended).
The humor that actually generated the most laughter was Crockett’s interpretation of the artist who goes by the name of The Weeknd. Though I dislike this film quite a bit, that impersonation had me laughing out loud. Some of the writing was also quite clever by Wayans specifically with the film’s Whiplash parody. Had the film stayed on that course this review would have been quite different.
Again to the film’s credit, when its humor connected it was a sure fire home run; but when it whiffed it wouldn’t hit water if it fell out of a boat. Sadly this spoof film whiffed one too many times for my taste.
With a short run time of 92 minutes, Fifty Shades of Black still felt longer than it was (once again no pun intended). Having its laughs be so far and in between the film had me itching to get out of my seat and on with my day. But based on the audience in the theater, this movie’s demographic is not geared towards me. It’s geared towards young teens looking for cheap laughs and you get that in abundance in Fifty Shades of Black.
Rating: ★★★ (3/10 stars)