REVIEW: People-watching at a 50 Shades of Grey screening is more fun than the film

50 Shades of Grey. Photo: IMDb.

I did something tragic on Valentine’s Day. As a single woman, I went and saw 50 Shades of Grey.

Before you start judging, or feeling sorry for me, I was with a group of girlfriends and we went for a laugh more than anything else.

We caught the 6.30pm session at the local mall.

There were lots of couples and groups too. Is the cinema where all the singles hide on Valentine’s Day?

It wasn’t as full as I expected.

As we sat closer to the back and in the middle, I noticed the crowd was a mish-mash of different types of people.

Unlike Twilight, which attracted squealing, giggling teenage girls, this was 50 shades of people: older married couples, groups of women, younger couples, and the obligatory guy in a track suit sitting by himself, who you want to sit as far away as possible from.

The movie? There are some bad jokes made in the hardware store where Anastasia works, they have the classic elevator pash. Yawn.

My eyes wander around the cinema, bored with the slow build up of a movie that’s meant to be all whips and chains, but never actually is.

I start to watch the audience reactions as different scenes play out.

The married couple: she’s bored too, and on her phone, which would be annoying if I was watching the movie, but light up her husbands facial reactions’, which are hilarious.

For every kinky remark or slap of the bottom he giggles like the little girl watching Twilight, then shrinks back into his seat, shaking his head and awkwardly laughing.

Still no response from the wife.

To my right is a group of women one of my friend’s pointed out could be us in about 40 years.

Their reactions were very similar to ours as the movie started: laughing awkwardly at the bad jokes, gasping at the first look at the playroom, giggling at the first sex scene. But then it changed. As the movie went on they got quieter. And quieter. And quieter.

We couldn’t figure out if they were so engrossed in the movie they forgot to engage or whether they were in fact utterly shocked by its contents.

Then there were the boys in front of us. They looked 20. They acted 12.

“Gential clamps!,” one would repeat from the script, prompting them to both burst out laughing.

“Butt plug!,” the other would say. Same reaction.

“Look at her bush!,” they said almost in unison, watching very intently.

50 Shades is a movie you should wait to see when it comes out on Pay TV. At least it provokes a reaction: whether you’re laughing at its ridiculousness or from embarrassment, or looking away at the sight of the “red room of pain”, or just an odd feeling that you’re participating in a group viewing of porn – but seriously, some episodes of Girls are more raunchy.

But when the audience is more interesting, the film’s biggest exercise in masochism is going to see 50 Shades in the first place.