Yikes. "Fifty Shades of Grey" author E.L. James just released her new book, "Grey," telling the story from Christian Grey's perspective. To say it was not well-received by critics would be an understatement, but it would also fail to mention the best part: The reviews are hilarious. That sound you hear is another critic cracking his or her (usually her) knuckles in preparation of a new online takedown. They are having too much fun with these scathing reviews, but so be it. The fans will read it no matter what, the haters love to hate no matter what, and two more movies are coming out in the "Fifty Shades" franchise no matter what. So ... no harm, no foul?

Entertainment Weekly compiled a list of not-so-friendly "Grey" reviews. Perhaps the best is the Telegraph of the U.K.'s critique, titled, "'Mr Darcy with nipple clamps': Bryony Gordon reviews EL James's Grey: The latest installment in the Fifty Shades series is as manipulative as its sadistic hero."

Here's the intro:

Grey, the fourth book from EL James, is about as sexy as a misery memoir and as arousing as the diary of a sex offender. It is Fifty Shades from the point of view of its leading man, a sort of XXXXXXXXXXX-rated version of the book that has launched a thousand floggers and sold a trillion copies. In Fifty Shades – narrated by Anastasia Steele, the young virgin who finds herself entering Christian Grey's Red Room of Pain – the billionaire businessman comes off as enigmatic and mysterious, with a hint of damage under his expensively pressed suits.

But here the look is that of a desperate sexual predator. Within moments of meeting Miss Steele, Grey has decided he needs to "fetter, f--- and flog" her; he then imagines what it would be like to shove some peeled ginger root up her behind. This, then, is the best the 21st century can come up with in terms of romantic literary heroes – a cut-price Mr Darcy in nipple clamps."

Peeled ginger root up the behind!

The Economist (not sure why they jumped in on this) was no kinder. In a review titled "I'm a creep," they wrote:

...It will surprise no one that Christian Grey doesn't improve upon greater acquaintance. He is still a mean, moneyed misogynist with recherché sexual tastes and an insatiable appetite for control. [...]

Here the flesh strung between the narrative bones reveals Mr Grey to be an even more deeply unpleasant, insecure a**hole than your correspondent had previously imagined. And no more three-dimensional. [...] Most chapters begin with dream-vignettes of his abusive childhood (with the exception of one hideous wet dream about two thirds of the way through). But if these were meant to help give him depth and excuse his less savoury behaviour then they resoundingly fail. We learn that Mr Grey can add bitchiness—"His handshake is limp, like his hair"—and vanity—"One glance at the louche fucker in the mirror"—to his roster of character flaws, but far more unsettling are the depth and extent of the ones we already knew he had.

His tendency to control and stalk read like passages from a psychological thriller. The background check is ordered seconds after he first meets Ms Steele, and when she breaks up with him he first runs and then has his driver slowly cruise past her house. Othello-like, he continually imagines her having sex with other men. In fact, he really does just hate women—continually, if silently, belittling them. "Women rarely make me laugh," he muses as he leeringly assesses her ass in the hardware store a few pages in. A little later: "It's two strikes against her: incurable romantic who only wears jeans...I like my women in skirts. I like them accessible." But will any of this matter a jot to the aforementioned fans? Probably not."

Most of the comments we've seen so far have been from non-readers who can't believe anyone likes the "Fifty Shades" series anyway, so these critics may just be preaching to their own choirs. But here's part of a review from an actual fan of the "Fifty Shades" books ... and she didn't like "Grey" either, bashing it in a post titled "I read the new Fifty Shades of Grey and it was less sexy than an eye test":

...The way he sees women is so consistently irritating, especially his employees. I'm a feminist; I see sexism, street harassment and chauvinism wherever I go. And yet until this morning, not once has misogyny got in the way of my sex life. I woke up embarrassingly enthused to read Grey's version of the story for an hour or so, until my partner's alarm went off - at which point I had every intention of jumping him. Only, an hour later and a quarter of the book down Christian Grey's attitude to women left me pondering: "what is the polar opposite of arousal?" [...]

Grey seems to think women are child-like commodities who have to be told when to eat, what to wear and even forced into blow drying their hair. Despite running a billion dollar empire apparently still labours under the misapprehension that you can get ill from having wet hair.

This morning I was cock-blocked by Christian Grey. The new Fifty Shades is supposed to be a fantasy. The book isn't just successful because of the sex: we like the cars, the wine, the music, the restaurants, the apartments, the hotels and the clothes. It's supposed to be a magical, seductive world. It's Disney for grown ups.

So could someone please let EL James know, that it's time to ditch the sexism? There should be no room for it in the real world, let alone in our fantasies."

Whew! What do you think? Anyone out there want to defend Christian Grey and "Grey"?

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categories Movies