I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say Hawk and I were probably very bad people who did very bad things in a past life and this is what we get for it. We don’t get to reincarnate as labradoodles or Channing Tatum’s skinny jeans, oh no. We do, however, get “dibs” on every questionable franchise flick from here to the end of time, though. So go us, I guess. From snowing Mr. Ripjaw in almost all of opening weekend to sending the stomach bug from hell to drop yours truly like a tranqued rhino at fifty paces the day after viewing (although it’s even odds my body was rejecting Fifty Shades Freed on a cellular level when I woke up the next morning to begin a five day relationship with Pepto Bismal and my toilet bowl) this review almost didn’t happen. But wait! Through yonder computer screen sarcasm and snark break! It is yours truly, Felix Felicis (Celebrity SoulCycle Consultant) and Hawk Ripjaw (Professional Guy Who Makes Bunny Ears In Every Photo To The Stars) ugly crying into our bondage beers this go ’round so that you, our booziest, most devotediest readers, won’t have to in a very special Felix-Ripjaw Debate Presents: Fifty Shades Freed. These past years we’ve mocked harder (Fifty Shades Of Grey) died inside faster (Fifty Shades Darker) and came out the other side covered in questionable amounts of buttered popcorn, fragmented bits of Transformers: The Last Knight, and salty self-loathing (Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets).
She Said: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately (I had a five day stretch of free time recently) and I’m almost certain this is your fault, bro. The Fifty Shades franchise reviews, not the stomach bug (to clarify). Pretty sure back in the day I scored the first Shades review and you suggested we tag team it and thus a partnership was born.
He Said: I don’t think doing someone a solid has ever backfired on me this hard. And I’ve had a stack of tables fall on my chest after helping someone move.
She Said: This is still your fault. But on the plus side, unless they spin the franchise off to center on their children exploring bondage in their teens like a Sisterhood Of The Traveling Sex Swing, I think we’re FINALLY FREE of spending every Valentine’s Day weekend crammed into a theater with middle-aged men and women watching badly written softcore porn. So there’s that.
He Said: At least until E.L. James screams at people loud enough for her retelling from Grey’s point of view to be adapted.
She Said: But I’m also, much like Kimmy Schmidt, Indiana Mole Woman Extraordinaire, unsure of what to do without that consistent factor in my life now that I’ve been FREED (oh yeah, we’ll consistently be going there) from my super gross and poster-child-for-toxic-masculinity captor.
He Said: I’ve been taking the entire week off every year for these movies. People have been getting suspicious as to why I always just disappear on Valentine’s Day week and I’m getting tired of paying off fake witnesses for cover stories.
She Said: I guess I could take up hot yoga.
He Said: Or playing in traffic.
She Said: Or knitting.
He Said: Or making bleach cocktails.
She Said: I don’t recommend this, but if you haven’t seen Fifty Shades Of Grey or Fifty Shades Darker and you’re going to see Fifty Shades Freed (WHY YOU FOOL WHY) then either watch them first or give it a quick Google because this is the third movie in the trilogy and some shit already done gone down.
He Said: Have seen both and read the books. Can confirm I was still confused as hell.
She Said: Or just read this next sentence: reclusive, emotionally stunted billionaire bad boy marries sweet hometown girl of his dreams to control her every action while learning how to have vanilla sex and commit to one woman foreverrrrr while avoiding unstable ex-lovers, unstable ex-foster sibs (all him) and actually having a healthy social life outside of a relationship (all not her). Grossly, they actually have vanilla ice cream fellatio in this one so they’re taking that metaphor licker- I mean literally.
He Said: We all know that ice cream was white on purpose. COLORRRRR THEEEEORRRRYYYYYYYY BRRAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.
She Said: It could be the Stockholm Syndrome clutching me fully in its grasp but Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson seemed almost playful with one another at times. But my money is on the fact that they were probably just grateful not to have to have as much graphic sex with one another this go ’round. You know, like cult members who have just given up and are along for the ride on that Kool-Aid train heading into the light.
He Said: Huh, I guess that kind of correlates to real relationships.
She Said: We need to have another refresher on “how to relationship” because I think you MIGHT be doing it wrong, my dude. But I digress. I ordered a cocktail called “A Kiss On The Lips” at the theater that was pure white girl juice with a splash of rum served in what could only be called a thimble because fuck being sober while watching this and also everyone knows white girls are like hummingbirds and only need an ounce of sugar-booze to get krunk.
He Said: I’m sorry, “white girl juice?”
She Said: Whoever is responsible for the dialogue in Freed (didn’t E.L. James basically use her husband as a fist puppet to ghostwrite this shitsicle?) can just GO THE FUCK HOME BECAUSE YOU ARE ALSO DRUNK. A few notable gems included:
[Scene: Ana and Christian argue about Christian going to get wasted and talk to Mrs. Robinson after finding out Ana was pregnant. Ana is, of course, angrily getting dressed one sexy piece of lingerie at a time while I genuinely try and remember to wear even regular underwear consistently]
*ALL QUOTATIONS SUBJECT TO ACCURACY AS I WAS HEAVILY INTOXICATED AND DYING INSIDE*
Christian: It didn’t mean anything!
Ana: [whipping her head around as she puts on a sexy bra, nostrils flaring] DID YOU FUCK HER?!
I may or may not have been the only person to audibly laugh at that moment but YOU watch it and tell me that’s not honestly hilarious.
And [Scene: Christian cooks Ana dinner near the end of the film]
Christian: Hyde was in foster care with me… It could’ve been ME [that grew up to be a sociopath] maybe it SHOULD’VE been me…”
Ana: NO… You’re a man of honor… you treat people well… Yes, you’ve been given advantages but look what you accomplished. Hyde could never do that… If you could cook you’d be perfect.”
[Christian looks at the culinary train wreck he’s prepared]
Christian: Fuck it, let’s get takeout.
LITERALLY TWO SECONDS LATER.
Ana: Oh they also found out where your [crack addict of a] mother was buried.
These are two of literally the worse people ever. And I’m taking into account the two women seated next to me at the theater who, when the credits rolled, turned to each other and embraced while wailing:
“I’M SO SAD IT’S OVER.”
He Said: “I’m so sad it’s over?”
She Said: Yep.
He Said: “I’M SO SAD IT’S OVER???”
She Said: That is correct.
He Said: What fucked up hole under what massively delusional rock do you have to live under in this TRILOGY OF BULLSHIT that defines you and your psyche so much that you feel THE ACTUAL HUMAN EMOTION OF REGRET when it’s over?
She Said: To be fair though, I did cry once when I was watching Fifty Shades Of Grey. The scene between these two was so beautiful, so nuanced, so filled with sexual tension, how could I not? Check it out below:
He Said: Okay, that’s pretty stellar but what single second, what MODICUM of this actual series even approaches genuine romance or even realistic human behavior?
She Said: Depending on your time and place in history, a white dude insisting women call him “master” is pretty much on the realistic end of the spectrum.
He Said: Well that got real dark real fast. Also these aren’t even characters, they’re the negative space between the one-note, dehumanizing moments in a sexual fantasy world that this story would desperately love to define.
She Said: It’s the “definition” of godawful.
He Said: This dialogue is fucking terrible. No one talks like this. NO ONE. It’s not a human way to talk.
She Said: Further proof Skynet is real and our robot overlords are coming online annnnnny minute now.
He Said: There is no reason to ever talk like that because your brain would say “Hey wait a minute, stop moving your mouth because you talk like a fucking diary and that’s stupid.” It’s not compelling! It’s not interesting! It’s not emotional! It does not develop character! It does not develop plot! It is NOISE that means nothing and amounts to nothing.
She Said: You mean kind of like that white noise at the end of dial-up internet, fax transmissions, or the rise of the machines?
She Said: If you’re still emotionally invested in the Fifty Shades franchise three movies deep with all of the fucking insane shenanigans going on you’re either rubber plant someone placed in a room with this trilogy playing on repeat or a veritable legion of sexually repressed soccer moms yearning for a Red Room of their very own.
He Said: I’ve dealt with a pair of sexually repressed soccer moms before, and that was terrifying enough. A whole theater of them almost broke me.
She Said: I kept trying to pin down a timeline that this all took place in only to conclude from the thin narrative that from the time Ana meets Christian to the… climax of her abduction (had to be pun, I’m not even sorry) it was maybe like two months? Tops?
He Said: I checked the wiki and you’re not far off. And now I can cross “read the Fifty Shades wiki” off my bucket list.
She Said: Like holy shit these events feel like they take FOREVER when in reality it’s maybe about the same time it takes to film a season of The Bachelor and you know how long those engagements usually last. Forever. Because it’s totally plausible to fall in love in eight weeks.
He Said: Channing Tatum is the exception, of course.
She Said: I can’t even commit to a yogurt brand for that long, but sure, Ana, your love can heal years of psycho-sexual abuse ‘cause your vagina is apparently magic. I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that a girl with all the personality of wet cardboard (or Lauren B.) graduates college, gets a job, dates a guy, fends off an attack from her boss who turns out has a grudge against her billionaire boyfriend and manages to gain an ivy league education in the EXACT field this billionaire’s girlfriend enters to then gain that sweet, sweet revenge because the rich WASPS didn’t adopt your maladjusted ass back in the day.
He Said: I’m pretty sure you put more thought and effort into that one sentence than was put into the entire trilogy.
She Said: Oh, and you also make a sex tape that convinces some rando lady coworker to help you harass and kidnap said girlfriend. Because you know what they say “Felony abduction comes and goes but a sex tapes stays with you FOREVER.” Didn’t anyone tell her that’s how Kim Kardashian became relevant? I can’t. I literally cannot. You take it from here, man.
He Said: Jack Hyde amusingly has the technical prowess of a Bond villain as he sabotages helicopters, hacks into servers, plants bombs, and breaks into secure spaces.
She Said: Give him sharks with frickin’ lasers on their heads and then we’ll talk.
He Said: Eventually you start to wonder if he’s going to use fucking nanobots to break out of prison right after saying “Haha, I only got caught because I LET myself get caught and it was all part of my GLORIOUS PLAN!”
She Said: I’m honestly disappointed because that sentence alone already made it a better movie.
He Said: That’s not to mention that the whole reason Jack wants to bang Ana is because he and Christian grew up in an orphanage together and Hyde is very disappointed that Christian got adopted instead of him. That’s it.
She Said: But what about sharks with frickin’ laser-wielding nanobots on their heads? Give it a think and get back to me.
He Said: Actually, I don’t think he even wants anything to do with Ana anymore besides make her life miserable. His entire two-film arc is an episode of Criminal Minds that didn’t get made.
She Said: I think I’ve finally given up because I almost didn’t even bat an eyelash at the poorly written, toxic, one-dimensional stereotypes of characters that thinly mirror Twilight in Fifty Shades Freed who just go off the rails in this final act like drunk bumblebees on meth, crash-landing into piles and piles of cocaine.
He Said: That’s… weirdly accurate.
She Said: Just driving full speed ahead into nonsensical, insane, fuckpuppetry with wild abandon because WHO GIVES A SHIT ANYMORE THIS LOVE IS ETERNAL LIKE THE SUN AND THE MOON AND SEASONALLY PEDDLED GIRL SCOUT COOKIES. No joke I dropped twenty bucks on five boxes of those peanut butter mu’fuckers this year.
He Said: Hey, when that shit’s on sale you GO FOR IT. I saw a drive-thru Girl Scout cookie stand today that was next-fucking-level.
She Said: There’s no way anyone sane would look at Ana’s meek co-dependence and Christian’s domineering control as anything other than toxic in the extreme but here we are three years and three movies later so fuck me I guess. Bish can’t even hang out with her friends WITH A BODYGUARD without being made to feel guilty after she gets home and is ATTACKED IN HER OWN HOME WHERE SHE WAS “SUPPOSED” TO BE SAFE only to be “gifted” time with friends on her significant others’ terms (remote cabin in the wilderness).
He Said: Christian is pretty much a complete failure on every level. Except for being able to do a pommel horse handstand. I look for that in every long-term significant other because priorities.
She Said: Same. Pretty sure Freed’s plot is every Lifetime thriller ever only this movie ends with her staying married to the douche instead of getting rescued.
He Said: Jamie Dornan has completely checked the fuck out and reduced Christian to a dead-eyed, still-possessive but clearly played by a very frustrated man who isn’t quite sure what he’s gotten himself into.
She Said: They were one CGI mustache away from Justice League-level leading man fuckery.
He Said: Christian, courtesy of Jamie Dornan, also received a massive downgrade from rich-and-vapid into rich-and-stupid. Ana hardly fares better, acting surprised when the man she married (AND SIGNED A CONTRACT WITH) continues to act the exact same way he has acted for nearly every second they’ve known each other and indicated he would act IN THE CONTRACT THAT THEY BOTH SIGNED.
She Said: It’s like she doesn’t learn from her mistakes. You know, like she’s a highly realistic sex doll robot from Japan that a billionaire could theoretically buy, program, and then pass off as a small town girl he met and married who used to work in a hardware store to his family who have become increasingly concerned each passing year that he’s still single and may very well die alone.
She Said: Fifty Shades Freed was BORING AF and I don’t care who knows it. Come at me, thirsty soccer moms, I DARE YOU. Even the most ridiculous shit was barely even laughably bad. Jack Hyde’s red-rimmed raccoon eyes were less menacing and more “Oooo sweetie you need a nap” than anything else.
He Said: Jack looked worse than Ragnar in Vikings, and that guy spent half of the show in a state of maimed, nearly-dead drug-induced sedation.
She Said: Not to mention the big proposal at the end by Christian’s brother to Ana’s friend (fuck if I can remember what their names were) seemed shoe-horned in there after a tepid buildup lacking anything resembling tension as our barely-there-pulse-of-a-film struggled like a narcoleptic whale to break free of a Rip Van Ocean of boredom.
He Said: I didn’t even know who those characters were.
She Said: I’ve been more emotionally invested in the half a season of Trailer Park Boys I saw once. No joke.
She Said: Fuck dude, I quit. This franchise and Fifty Shades Freed wins. It broke me. That final, loving montage at the end of the film that recapped the entire trilogy had the middle-aged BFF’s to my right OPENLY WEEPING.
He Said: I had to choke back tears when I bought my ticket so I get it.
She Said: I keep thinking this is some kind of trick and I’m going to wake up any second now still trapped in that theater only the movie never ends THE MOVIE NEVER ENDS, HAWK. Like I’m Ant Man and I’m trapped, falling forever deeper into a Phantom Zone where Fifty Shades Four is just around the corner.
He Said: I feel like I’m in the twist ending of Repo Men where I got seriously injured and put into a coma and the whole remainder of my existence was just an implanted false reality where I thought I got out of the theater and continued to live my life but the movie is still going. It would explain the occasional throbbing I’ve been getting in my left temple.
She Said: Did you feel that?! I swear I just felt a chill in the air, man.
He Said: Shit, I just got a chill down my spine when you said that right there.
She Said: If this is The Matrix I WANNA WAKE UP.
He Said: But that final montage. It tries to excuse the fact that this franchise is basically a really shitty perfume commercial about an abusive relationship and say “Hey, look how cute this is! Remember when Ana first tripped and fell down in the office when she met Christian? Wasn’t that a huge romantic event that set the stage for this timeless love story? Remember when they went flying? REMEMBER WHEN HE SPANKED HER SO BADLY THAT SHE RAN AWAY FOR LIKE A WEEK BUT TRUE LOVE BROUGHT THEM BACK TOGETHER??”
She Said: It had better come with a free tote. You know us white girls love a free tote.
He Said: Who doesn’t? But this shit tried to tell us that the Fifty Shades trilogy was an important milestone in storytelling that has defined a generation. The finale montage is trying to gaslight us into believing that watching a recap of original franchise footage will make us remember where we were when we saw the first movie and how we’ve changed since then.
She Said: I’m still broke and Channing Tatum still isn’t in love with me so it’s pretty much been a wash these past few years.
He Said: I’m slightly more miserable and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson still doesn’t love me either, so it’s samesies over in this corner.
She Said: Don’t give up. If a giant, sky-scraper-sized wolf can have wings, we can have love.
He Said: That could take a while evolutionarily speaking.
She Said: I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or snort whippets until the world makes sense again, but I’m probably gonna do all three until Hawk and I are needed for Fifty Shades: Next Generation coming to a theater near you in hell.
He Said: I’ll bring the booze, you bring the snacks. We’re gonna need as much as possible of both if either of us ever agree to do some shit like this again, and we both know we will because something has gone terribly wrong in this timeline.
Fifty Shades Freed (2018) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever Ana or Christian are stalked and/or harassed. Take Two: if they’re together at the time.
Take a Drink: for every licensed song.
Take a Sip: for every argument and/or sexual act. Take Two: if they do it angry.
Do a Shot: whenever a problem in the movie could have easily been solved by simple communication.
Take a Drink: every time you can spot one of the members of a security detail in the background.
Waterfall Your Beer: when the memory montage hits you like a wave of mental sewage near the end there.