'Fifty Shades Darker': What the Critics Are Saying

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan return to the big screen with a new director, James Foley, but the reviews aren't good.

The reviews for the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey are in.

Directed by veteran director but franchise newcomer James Foley, Fifty Shades Darker features Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan reprising their roles as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Marcia Gay Harden also returns as Christian's adoptive mother, as does Rita Ora, as Christian's sister, while Kim Basinger joins the cast as Elena Lincoln, Christian's business partner and former lover.

The movie — adapted from the second book in EL James' best-selling BDSM trilogy — isn't exactly connecting with critics, with only a 9 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of midday Thursday.

The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore writes in his review, "'Darker'?... [The film] goes rather in the other direction, replacing most of the first installment's talk of master/servant dynamics and contractually delineated sex play with more lovey-dovey hoohah than most self-respecting rom-coms are willing to deliver."

"A concluding installment is already en route; expect diminishing returns every Valentine's Day," he added. 

Read what other top critics are saying about Fifty Shades Darker below.

Brian Truitt of USA Today writes, "The erotica lite sequel somehow manages to be worse than the stupefyingly bad Fifty Shades of Grey." Darker, Truitt writes, is "filled with predictable twists, naked bedroom antics that could double as an infomercial for Sex Toys R Us, and unintentionally hilarious dialogue."

Newsday's Rafer Guzman calls the sequel "breathtakingly, pulse-poundingly bad." "It might have been a hoot if its sexual politics and baseline morality weren't so objectionable," Guzman adds.

The New York Daily News' Stephen Whitty writes, "Fifty Shades Darker is about an otherwise sensible person who willingly subjects herself to needless pain and humiliation. Watching the movie, I kind of knew how she felt. But only kind of. At least Dakota Johnson's heroine, Ana, gave little sighs of pleasure during her ordeal. I mostly laughed through mine."

The Boston Globe's Meredith Goldstein writes, "The film's sex scenes … start to get a bit grating after a while. There are too many of them, and even when accessories are added, I found myself groaning (not in a sexy way), desperate for more narrative."

Us Weekly's Mara Reinstein writes, "The sequel, once again starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, is more unintentionally hysterical than the original." "Consider this film as a ticket to two hours of blessedly brainless escapism, and, guaranteed, it will not be the biggest time suck of 2017," she adds.

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