It was only a matter of time that someone came along and spoofed the widely popular and highly alluring pop-culture phenomenon that was Fifty Shades of Grey. What isn’t surprising is that spoof specialist and kinda, sorta washed up actor/writer Marlon Wayans was the one to do so. Wayans, whose previous parody films include A Haunted House 1 & 2, Dance Flick and Scary Movie 1-4 brings forth a very important question with his newest spoof feature Fifty Shades of Black; is the spoof film finally, officially dead?
Its hard to believe but, after such classics as Airplane!, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and yes, even the original Scary Movie, the spoof film may slowly if not almost entirely die off and be resting in peace very soon.
The world, currently, is one that is obsessed with social media platforms and media within these social networks. Thanks to applications such as Vine, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube, it seems that audiences everywhere are capable of finding comedy and entertainment, not only within the comfort of their own homes, but as easily and accessibly, within moments, in the palms of their hand.
When the dawn of the television was upon us, people everywhere thought that televisions were going to destroy Hollywood and the history of feature films altogether; it didn’t. With the rise of the Internet and the quickly developing moment of streaming and illegally downloading films and music online, people soon thought that the future of movies and music was on its way on the decline. Yet, in 2015 no less, two of the highest grossing films of all-time were released, and more than ever, the profitability of music has never been better. So, how and why is the spoof film genre dying slowly but surely?
The thing about entertainment in 2016 is that, entertainment isn’t merely measured but numbers and margins, but by memories and moments of experience and spectacle, with margins and numbers as well. Entertainment is constantly evolving, and the forms in which we consume entertainment maintains the ways in which we determine whether the entertainment itself is viable, or not. The thing with earlier spoof films like the ones that were mentioned above are, in order to consume such comedy, going to the movie theatres and watching it for yourself was the only way of consumption. Now a days, not only are films, genres and characters spoofed on the daily, but pop culture, with the help of social media, spoofs the crap out of anything and everything. Don’t think thats the case? Think back, just in 2015, to all the spoofs you saw online about Adele’s song Hello, Drake’s music video to Hotline Bling, as well as anything else flooding the front pages of your Vine, Instagram and Facebook news feeds.
The beauty behind the genius in the earlier spoof films of the 80’s and 90’s was that accessibility was limited and, these films weren’t just spoofing a specific movie, having limited content to work with. Think of Austin Powers for example, it wasn’t just a spoof on spy films and a filmography of more than a dozen Bond films at that time, but also a genre, the unbelievability of a lifestyle or profession little to nothing is known about, as well as providing a fantasy for the possibility of the many beauties the life of what an international person of mystery might really be like. Sure, Black may spoof Kim K for a second, the Weeknd here and there, but overall, these small and insignificant and highly forgettable inclusions did nothing to elevate the plot or humour of the film overall.
If you’re wondering why I haven’t really mentioned the plot line or story of Black, well, thats because the film is basically a shot-for-shot carbon copy of the original Grey film, with added crass and crude black jokes included, sexual innuendoes juiced up to the max and of course, taking what the original did, and making it funny by stripping away its glamorous and polished exterior; essentially, making it real world scary for real life people. No matter how you look at it, regardless of how much money you have, any girl would be scared of having a wealthy man stalking you at work asking for ropes and zip-ties regardless how cute he may be.
What I found super interesting with Black was how the film is slowly accepting and transitioning from movie stars, to social media stars starring within feature films. Sure we’ve seen Vine stars make cameos in films before, like Brittany Furland in last year’s We Are Your Friends, but in Black, social media icon King Back/Andrew Bachelor has a very prominent role as the not so subtle yet hysterical best friend Jesse that wants a piece, like any other straight male friend wants from their female friends. Bach represents not only a dominance of social media within feature films, but perhaps, the next phase and new generation of movies stars tomorrow. Plus, is it just me or does Bach remind anyone else of a younger Will Smith circa his ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ days?
Sure Black states the obvious humours that we found in the original Grey film, but the beauty of Fifty Shades of Grey was that it knew that it was going to be the basis to much criticism, the butt end of endless jokes and spoof online for weeks and months after its release. Luckily for the film, made on only $40 million dollar, its return really laughed in all the faces of sceptics and all its negative criticism. Fifty Shades of Grey broke these records; highest grossing film directed by a woman, highest grossing February release and #1 President Day 4-Day Holiday Weekend (all of these numbers NOT adjusted for inflation). So I guess, the joke is on us, especially since these numbers and records are bound to be broken once the newest instalment of the series is released in 2017.
Unfortunately, while the basis for Fifty Shades of Black was such a hit, I truly believe that Fifty Shades of Black will not break any records or the bank by swarms of people going to see it. Instead, Marlon Wayans may be the man known in the film world as, the guy who helped aid in the death of the parody film, or at least, parodies as we know them in 2016.
Night Film Reviews: 1 Out of 10 Stars.
Is Fifty Shades of Black as bad as we made it seem or was there some hidden, complex jokes included that we missed? How was it? Black? Grey or just plain awful? Leave your fifty shades of comments below.