Trailer Trash: 50 Shades of Grey

I remember a couple of years ago, during the heat and fervour of the E.L. James phenomenon, glimpsing a copy of ’50 Shades of Grey’ that was sat on the desk of my dentist. My dentist was a polite, plain looking Indian woman in her early thirties. Lying prone on the dentist’s chair I feared for my modesty and what on earth she’d get up to with those sharp looking implements that were about to prod and probe inside my gob.

Though I never read any of James’ erotic novels I got the gist of what they were about – Mills & Boon for a uptight sexually repressed generation, a pulp equivalent to D.H. Lawrence’s highbrow smut. Many wondered how ‘50 Shades of Grey’ would be adapted on screen, the dirtiest of minds predicted that pornstar James Deen would play Christian Grey, building on from his role in ‘The Canyons’ alongside Lindsay Lohan. Initially actors were cast and then some dropped out after having second thoughts, most likely doubting the quality of the source material. Now we have the trailer for Sam Taylor-Johnson’s movie version starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dorman.

The vibe of the trailer suggests an ‘American Psycho’ stroke ‘Great Gatsby’ adaptation, as Anastasia Steele, a naïve journalist interviews Christian Grey, this hotshot albeit mysterious businessman who shies away from media attention. At first it looks like a conventional love story, icy businessman melts, and begins to show a softer side before he opens the door to his S&M dungeon.

Yes, the sexy payoff is at the end. Before that in nearly two minutes hardly anything is given away; we are titillated just enough to wonder what this is all about. The problem I have with the film’s trailer is that it’s all so cold and serious. I suppose the emphasizes Christian Grey’s bland control in the boardroom as opposed to whatever the hell he does in the bedroom with all those chains and whips, but contrast it to I don’t know, something like the trailer for the mildly controversial ‘Secretary’ which had a similar S&M theme.

The dominance and submission content in the ‘Secretary’ trailer is delivered humourlessly. The early signs of ’50 Shades of Grey’ is that they probably could’ve released a sixty second sound clip of orgasmic groaning on a blank (or grey) screen and it would have generated excitement to the hundred million strong baying mob of punters waiting to see Christian Grey brought to life on screen.

This trailer doesn’t exactly get my porridge oats boiling. Thumbs down from me.