The reviews for Fifty Shades Darker are just the worst

"Farcical," "trite," "dumb," "bland" and "horrible" are not words that make you want to see a film.

Unfortunately, they've all been used by critics to describe Fifty Shades Darker, the erotically charged sequel to 2015's Fifty Shades of Grey.

Released in New Zealand today, Fifty Shades Darker stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as a couple engaging in a submission relationship. It's based on a best-selling book series by EL James.

Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Darker. Photo/AP
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Darker. Photo/AP

But the film has been slammed by critics who have hit out at its threadbare plot, bland sex scenes and a lack of chemistry between the leads.

It has just an eight per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregate site, and apparently it's with good reason.

The Independent gave it just one star out of five, calling it an "ordeal to watch ... because of its utter blandness".

"The film would surely have benefited from being gaudier, more kitsch and transgressive. Instead, this is telenovela-style storytelling with predictable villains and far too much simpering mawkishness," wrote reviewer Geoffrey Macnabb.

The New York Post was particularly harsh, with reviewer Kyle Smith writing: "There must be 50 films I'd rather cover. Fifty Shades will make you dumber."

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter said women laughed at the film during a screening attended by its reviewer.

"Quantity is no substitute for chemistry," said John DeFore. "Both leads are attractive and look good without clothes, but the roteness of their bulge-flexing intimacies is such that when, near the film's end, the movie showed off Mr Dornan's physique in a gym scene, women at Wednesday's preview screening were openly laughing at the contrivance."

USA Today singled out the lack of spark between Dornan and Johnson, saying: "A pair of fish lying next to each other at Seattle's famed Pike Place Market have more chemistry."

"A movie only a masochist could love," wrote Matt Singer from Screencrush. "You will most definitely care more about Anastasia Steele's red lipstick shade than her tortured romance with cold billionaire Christian Grey," says Mara Reinstein from US Weekly.

However, Vanity Fair posted one of the more positive reviews, saying it's "the silly, good-natured trash masterpiece we deserve right now".

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades Darker. Photo/AP
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades Darker. Photo/AP

"You won't believe just how dumb the dialogue is in Fifty Shades Darker, and, yes, that's even if you've seen the first one," writes reviewer Jordan Hoffman. "Still, Johnson makes it work. With anyone else in the lead, these films would be condemned and sent to Guantanamo.

"Instead, we've got the greatest Valentine's Day movie in years."

- NZ Herald

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