At The Movies With Josh: Book Club,the Next Chapter

Jane Fonda said last year she will no longer have sex. It’s not information we needed, but…I wish she’d also say she will no longer act in any movies. After the horrible Tom Brady film and now this movie…in which my wife couldn’t stop talking about how painful it was to look at Fonda’s face-lifted face…she should just retire. And I won’t even get into how I still don’t like the fact that Hanoi Jane never properly apologized for all that back in the Vietnam era.

So, this sequel to the 2018 film, brings back Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen (who also wrote a song for the film), and Candice Bergen, who has the best lines. 

The foursome heads over to Italy for a bachelorette party (and made me think about how much more I laughed in the movie The Trip to Italy with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon). I also thought about the time I chatted up Gary Oldman at the Critics Choice Awards. I offered him a cigar after his win for Darkest Hour. He laughed and said he smoked $20,000 worth of cigars for the movie and it made him sick. I’m guessing the wine and cheese budget for this rivaled that.

The movie opens cleverly enough, showing the women trying to keep their book club alive during Covid, when they can’t meet up. Some of the Zoom get-togethers have cute jokes. And some fall flat. I especially liked the bit with a parrot.

When they get together in person, we find out Vivian (Fonda) is engaged to Arthur (played by Don Johnson, who looked a bit like Warren Beatty). Carol (Steenburgen) lost her restaurant, and feels like she might lose her husband Bruce (Craig T. Nelson), since he had a recent heart attack (and leads to idiotic scenes like him trying to sneak bacon that he eats off the kitchen floor when she spots him on the home security system). She decides they should go to Italy. Diane (Keaton) isn’t so keen on leaving her boyfriend Mitchell (who would? It’s Andy Garcia!). Sharon (Bergen) doesn’t want to leave her cat. Luckily for the ladies, the cat dies and Garcia doesn’t. Off to Italy they go!

Once there, only about 25% of the jokes work. To give you an idea of the many that don’t – giggling at nude statues and making comments about how cold it must be in the museum, and thinking a real cop is a stripper and taunting him and pulling at his uniform. 

And about 25% of the serious stuff worked in the dialogue. There were a few touching lines about getting older.

Oh, and I’m so over a montage where women try on a variety of outfits.

The film was shot beautifully, but it was poorly edited. There was good chemistry between the cast of women, but I didn’t care for any of the scenes with the men in their life (aside from the contrivance of an old flame that just happens to be the chef at a restaurant they visit). 

I had a problem with two of the songs played. American Girl is a great Tom Petty tune, but it was used so well in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (when the building was toilet-papered on the first day of school) and the start of Silence of the Lambs, before the woman was kidnapped.

They also played Hall & Oates You Make My Dreams Come True. That song needs to be retired from movies (and it was used so brilliantly in 500 Days of Summer).

I thought this was going to be worse than it was, but that’s no ringing endorsement. I think anyone 65-years-old or older is going to have a blast watching it. I just hope this next chapter, is the last chapter.

2 stars out of 5.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content