The new movie “Book Club: The Next Chapter” is one of the few sequels of a below-average original movie ever released. The original “Book Club”, released in 2018, was mostly about the embarrassment of a group of older women over reading “50 Shades of Grey”, arguably the worst book in the history of publishing – to generate an enormous amount of money. This new version of Book Club starts as a book club meeting with all of the original cast members, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen for the first few minutes, and then the story mutates into a travelogue for a trip the 4 women make to Italy for the wedding of Jane Fonda’s character Vivian.
I remember thinking while watching this mostly boring and unnecessary film, that the real upside of this story is that for the millions of us who never have the desire or money to travel to Italy and see all of the major cities of Rome, Tuscany, and Venice – this is your opportunity to visit Italy without actually going there. Other than this positive point, this is not really a movie, but a series of vignettes and some attempts of humor that mostly do not work. The idea of the producers is to draw the audience from the original movie released in 2018 by calling this movie Book Club and then changing the story into a wedding in Italy and a series of mostly boring events.
Just about all of the male counterparts in this production are miscast, starting with Don Johnson, who plays Arthur about to marry Jane Fonda’s character. The problem is that Jane Fonda is 85 years old and Johnson is 73 and they have no chemistry, mainly because of the age difference. The same problem with Diane Keaton’s character Diane who is 76 and her boyfriend played by Andy Garcia is 66. Both of these relationships, central to the story, are not believable.
Odds are high that this new installment will be out of theaters in less than 3 weeks.
I agree with the low Rotten Tomatoes ratings of 49% and I do not recommend this film.