Fifty Shades of Black
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Crass parody doesn't stay on target long enough to be funny.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Pokes fun at the ridiculous premise and popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey but also depicts women as either unattractive goody-goodys or super-crass, promiscuous sexual deviants. So over-the-top that no positive messages can be easily discerned.
Positive Role Models
Hannah discovers what does and doesn't want in a relationship. She claims she isn't insecure, just selective. No other clearly admirable behavior/modeling, and some very poor examples, including racism, stereotypes, etc.
Violence & Scariness
Slapstick violence involving clumsy Hannah (she's hit by elevator doors that slam on her face, she falls into doors, etc.). A racist character uses a Taser gun on an African-American woman, yelling "standing my ground!" Some of the sex scenes include a form of consensual violence -- like Christian using a whip or paddle, stool, etc. to spank or whip Hannah.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent crass conversation about sex, and at least three sex scenes (all are brief and played for laughs rather than titillation). In addition to BDSM scenes with whips, blindfolds, spanking, etc., there are two public sex scenes where the woman is mostly clothed but moaning and making comments, and the man is shirtless or naked. Nudity includes one breast that pops out comically during a conversation, as well as three scenes that show obviously fake male genitalia (testicles and penises -- one supersized, and one so small that it's ridiculed publicly). One character jokes about having STDs. Christian makes fun of Hannah for being a virgin. A woman tells Hannah to smell her breath because it's the smell of a man's testicles.
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Constant use of strong language, including dozens of "f--k/ing/er" (mostly as a sexual term but also as an exclamation), "motherf--ker," the "N" word (mostly by African Americans but also one white character), "s--t," "c--k," "a--hole," "ass," "d--k," "p--sy," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), "goddamn it," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Audi, MacBook (they're called Macs and look like them from afar, but the actual Apple logo isn't shown), Range Rover, VW Beetle, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink, and one man tries to get his female friend to consume the "date-rape drug" Molly. Hannah gets drunk. References to crack dealing/use. Adult characters drink at a family dinner and at restaurants.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fifty Shades of Black is a parody of Fifty Shades of Grey starring, co-written, and produced by Marlon Wayans. It makes fun of the Fifty Shades movie, book, and main characters, but it manages to contain less nudity (although you will see one breast and two full-frontal scenes of men's clearly fake genitalia). On the other hand, there's lots more swearing (including countless uses of "f--k," the "N" word, "motherf--ker," etc.) and vulgar references to sex and race (one character is openly racist toward her adopted children). Although the scenes are played for laughs, they do still contain BDSM, with the whips on display named after slavery-themed films like Roots, Glory, 12 Years a Slave, etc. There's also substance use and abuse by adults: The main female character gets drunk, and someone tries to spike her drink with Molly; the main male character recalls becoming a billionaire because he used to use and sell crack cocaine.
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Fifty Shades of Black
Based on 6 parent reviews
I really like the movie, although it's really ridiculous, it's like when someone wants to tell people what they really think, but they don't want to, but they don't dare, this movie breaks that paradigm, and puts people's real thoughts at stake , what people do not dare to say, yes. taboo, without sense, only in the viewer's imagination. I think the idea is based on being what you are regardless of what they think of you, perhaps without the exaggeration of the movie, but at the same time what you really are, without taking it to something sexual or transcendental
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What's the Story?
FIFTY SHADES OF BLACK is exactly what it sounds like -- a parody of Fifty Shades of Grey from the perspective of comedian Marlon Wayans and his production team. Following the same premise as the original, the spoof follows inexperienced college student Hannah Steale (Kali Hawk), who does her sick roommate a favor and interviews self-made billionaire Christian Black (Wayans) or a journalism assignment. During the interview, it's clear that Christian's attracted to Hannah -- and, like in the movie it's parodying, he basically keeps tabs on her until she agrees to see him. Soon it becomes clear that Christian isn't interested in a regular romantic relationship; he wants Hannah to sign a huge sex contract agreeing to be his submissive in a dominant-submissive relationship.
Is It Any Good?
Effective parodies never lose sight of the object they're parodying, which is why this mess of a crass comedy fails in its mission. It's all over the place, making fun of the source material one moment and then needlessly poking fun at racial politics, Magic Mike, and women's bodies (like Hannah's smelly panties or her promiscuous caricature of a roommate's sexually transmitted disease) the next. One of the few laugh-out-loud moments is when Florence Henderson makes an appearance in a flashback as the woman who introduced Christian to BDSM. In a bit taken straight out of Whiplash, she demands that Christian respond to whether he or she is "rushing or dragging" during sex. She then chides Christian for not living up to his potential (and also not adhering to sexual stereotypes about black men).
As a parody, there are a couple of funny moments (like when Hannah's BDSM punishment includes a read-aloud of Fifty Shades of Grey), but most of the movie just devolves into lowbrow shtick after shtick. For example, Jane Seymour and Fred Willard pop up as Christian's adopted parents, who are not-so-secretly racist (Mrs. Black checks for her wallet every time she and Christian hug goodbye, and she believes her husband has a secret thing for their Asian daughter, just like Woody Allen). It's cringe-worthy and awful -- but then again, so was the original.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Fifty Shades of Black's depiction of sex. Does the humor lighten the content/mood? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
Why do you think the Fifty Shades of Grey series is so popular? Is this parody of it appropriate for teens?
What makes a movie a good parody? What are some of the best film parodies? How does this one compare?
The movie has been accused of making fun of women's bodies, but you could also argue that it mocks men's bodies. Is either situation a good example for teen viewers? What message does that send about body image?
- In theaters: January 29, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: April 19, 2016
- Cast: Marlon Wayans, Kali Hawk, Affion Crockett
- Director: Michael Tiddes
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Open Road Films
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong crude sexual content including some graphic nudity, and for language throughout
- Last updated: April 29, 2023
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