Book Club: The Next Chapter – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it might not stick the landing, it is still an improvement on the first film, and the friend dynamic completely works.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There are some photos during the credits

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening for this film.

The Book Club ladies arrive in Rome.

Book Club: The Next Chapter Review

Sequels are always a tricky beast to approach. There are few things worse in cinema than a follow-up to a film you loved falling over. However, this is not the case for me because I was not that impressed with the original Book Club. This means it is a case of seeing if the second swing at the ball can hit.

So to set the scene, the members of the book club Diane (Diane Keaton), Vivian (Jane Fonda), Sharon (Candice Bergen), and Carol (Mary Steenburgen), were going well until they had to shelter in place due to Covid, but that is only going to last a week. Many, many months of Zoom later, the women finally meet up for their next in-person book club, but Vivian has a surprise, an engagement ring. The shock and surprise were strong, but after that passed, there was an opportunity. Because back in the day, the four of them wanted to go on a holiday in Italy, and well, a bachelorette party was a fantastic excuse to fix a past wrong.

The Book Club Ladies explore Rome.
Italy is a great location for this film. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The film’s first change is changing the book, which is the inspiration for people’s motivations, shifting things from Fifty Shades of Grey to The Architect. This change fundamentally helps the film because it stops the movie from being bogged down in a particular direction that dates the production. It also allows more space for the characters to explore their motivations. The four book club members work exceptionally well with each other with some fantastic banter and some of the classist smut jokes I have seen in a film. If you want classy smut, make your jokes in an antique museum.

Another strength is the move of most of the action takes place in Italy, and it looks like most of it was filmed on location, with only one or two green screen moments. I think we are at a point where flying off to an exotic place feels like something to aspire to again. It also allows for more than a few shenanigans and cross-cultural snafus, which is the perfect place for the entertaining introduction of Giancarlo Giannini to the production. There is a bit of ‘we’re American, so we know best’ that comes from these moments, but also enough repercussions that it kind of balances it out if you ignore how easily money changes things.

Marble statues.
My understanding is that men at a bachelorette party tend to be more animated. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

While I think this is a big leap forward compared to the first film, it does have a gapping problem, and that is the third act. While there are still a few good jokes and moments, the film loses all narrative momentum when they leave Venice. It felt like they had written themselves into a corner, and this was the least bad option. This might be true, but it did make the entire third act feel like a drag.

In the end, do we recommend Book Club: The Next Chapter? Well, personally, I do think it was an overall improvement on the first film, even if the ending was flat. As well as that, I can tell you that the target audience for the film very much enjoyed the film and the screening I was at. If you liked Book Club: The Next Chapter, we would recommend to you Top End Wedding.         

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Book Club: The Next Chapter?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us
Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day. 

Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Book Club: The Next Chapter
Directed by
– Bill Holderman
Written by – Bill Holderman & Erin Simms
Based onBook Club by Bill Holderman & Erin Simms
Music by – Tom Howe
Cinematography by – Andrew Dunn
Edited by – Doc Crotzer
Production/Distribution Companies –Makeready, Fifth Season, Apartment Story, Focus Features & Universal Pictures
Starring – Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy García, Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, Giancarlo Giannini, Hugh Quarshie, Giovanni Esposito, Vincent Riotta, Adriano De Pasquale, Grace Truly & Giampiero Judica
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: na; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12a; United States: PG-13


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.