The Book Club: The Next Chapter (2023) – Review

Four best friends take their book club to Italy for the fun girls trip they never had. When things go off the rails and secrets are revealed, their relaxing vacation turns into a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country adventure.


Derek (Guest Reviewer) – The 2018 “Book Club” movie grossed over $100 Million at the box office, so it’s only natural that Hollywood would squeeze out as much money as they could by coming up with a Book Club franchise. And so, 5 years later, we have the sequel, “Book Club: The Next Chapter”.

Fortunately, the original book club’s good friends, Jane Fonda, Diane Keeton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen, were still above ground and available. In particular, Jane Fonda is a remarkable woman in that at the age of 85 she can still appear as stunning as she does. She’s no longer the Jane Fonda of the ‘70s movie Klute, but today would still turn the heads of male residents of Shady Pines Retirement Village. So what if she’s been into the panel beaters for a re-spray and some dents to be knocked out (and perhaps replacement of original factory-fitted accessories) but she certainly still looks to be in fine running order.

The film-makers no doubt scratched their heads over how to put together a movie that would leave the audience with that “feel-good feeling” as they left the theatre. Perhaps they tried too hard? So into the pot was stirred a story line that could have been written by Enid Blyton, with some spicy one-liners written into the script guaranteed to raise a giggle or two from the viewing audience. To this was added beautiful and exotic locations (Rome and Venice). Try not to dwell on how the ladies managed to stroll around the uncrowded Spanish Steps in Rome in the middle of the tourist season, without having to hack their way through swarms of young tourists wielding selfie-sticks.

So what if the movie trundles out all the tried and tested stereotypes and situations (the loss of their luggage, the wedding dress fittings, the nasty Italian police chief with a heart of gold finally saving the day, the car break-down in the middle of nowhere and a night in jail). But after all, remember, it’s all Hollywood, it’s not real. Just sit back and let yourself flow along with it, for once unburdened by screeching high-speed car chases and gunfights. And as for the rabbit-out-of-the hat happy ending… what more could one expect? 6/10

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