Christian Black is a rich businessman with a penchant for sharp suits, sad piano ditties and whips. Hannah Steale is a poor college student with a penchant for rich businessmen. And they never would’ve met if it hadn’t been for—
Oh, enough of this. Trying to set the stage for Fifty Shades of Black—a spoof, naturally, of Fifty Shades of Grey—is like trying to outline the plot of a demolition derby. There’s no reason for anything here; just a lot of noise and destruction. Besides, we’ll need all the space possible for the content sections that follow.
Except for this one. Moving on …
In flashback, Christian shows off his “playroom”—that is, the red room where he keeps all of is sadomasochistic sex toys—to a variety of women. One is appalled at what she sees, and after unleashing a stream of profanity she turns to Christian and says, “You need to find Jesus. That’s what you need to do.”
Rough talk about “technical virginity” involves conning a pastor. Hanna’s roommate, Kateesha, doesn’t see anything at all off about following up rowdy sex with going to church. Christian’s brother, Eli, tells someone he’s “financially poor but spiritually rich.” Christian cracks a joke about a Gideon Bible.
“Sex and comedy go hand in hand,” Marlon Wayans told the Los Angeles Times. “Sex is something everybody does, and every comedian has five to 20 minutes of sex material. It was just a fun place to explore.”
And here’s how he defines fun:
Hannah’s exposed breast prompts Christian’s mother to launch into a long critique of that bare body part. And the men in this movie routinely strip down to their birthday suits and flaunt their (obviously fake) genitalia. Much is made (and seen) of Eli’s grossly exaggerated privates, which extend below his knees. We see him naked after he has noisy sex with Kateesha on the couch. And we see Christian’s sexual bits, too; here the movie plays the “laugh at how tiny it is” card as he hip-thrusts his way through a Magic Mike-inspired sequence, dancing and stripping for a bevy of screaming—then laughing—women. He grinds with two of them (having simulated sex, which causes a simulated pregnancy). Another scene also exposes his testicles.
Other sexual encounters are frequent. And they’re frequently graphic, boasting moaning, panting, frantic movements and loud orgasms. Included: manual stimulation, oral sex, anal sex, S&M-themed rough sex, elevator sex, “regular” sex (at the dinner table) and “sex” with inanimate objects (some of them sex toys). The camera catches barely concealed erections. There are verbal and visual jokes about multiple partners and Christian’s lack of stamina.
There are quantities of crude conversations about sexual proclivities, desires, odors and venereal diseases. Incest is joked about, as is the fact that Hannah has 27 stepfathers. A flashback shows a young Christian engaged in subservient (and public) sex with his music teacher (played by The Brady Bunch’s Florence Henderson). A date-rape drug is used.
Fifty Shades of Black is a slapstick spoof with the emphasis put on slap. Backsides are routinely whipped, leading to a great deal of weeping. Other forms of spanking are seen, too. The joke here is that Hannah can’t feel it through her butt implants … which leads to more extreme measures of punishment: beatings by way of belts, a paddle, a shovel and a bar stool. Christian smashes her hand with a riding crop. Hannah kicks him into a wall. Her head is repeatedly thunked between closing elevator doors. Christian throws another guy around. There’s talk of killing puppies. Christian’s hardware shopping list suggests that he might be a serial killer. Someone gets Tasered. Unprotected sex leads to Christian forcing Hannah to take a “morning after” pill.
About 70 f-words, more than 40 s-words and an avalanche of nearly every other vulgarity and profanity currently available in the English language. We hear a ton of crass-to-obscene colloquialisms for various body parts. The n-word is thrown around. God’s name is misused at least 30 times, sometimes accompanied by “d–n.” Jesus’ name is abused seven or eight times.
Christian admits to doing crack, and it’s said that his money sometimes has white powder on it. There are references to weed and heroin. Characters drink wine, beer, champagne and hard liquor. Hannah gets drunk. There are lines about her mother being a “drunken whore.”
Christian steals a purse, a suit and a car. We learn that he has four restraining orders on him and is “working on a fifth.” He breaks into Hannah’s house. Christian’s mother is deeply racist, and there are many jokes predicated on race. Hannah’s looks are scathingly denigrated.
I’ll make this conclusion simple by turning it into a plea: Please, please don’t see this movie. Promise me. As a friend.
Rarely—maybe never—have I seen such a particularly potent concoction of salacious content and stupid storytelling. (And I reviewed Fifty Shades of Grey.) To truly describe this movie, one must invent new words that mean “ridiculously foul,” only worse. Something like radiridifo. Say it 50 times in a row, and it still won’t be enough.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.