LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
This Memorial Day weekend, moviegoers have a number of blockbusters to choose from. The latest "Star Wars" film will be competing with lots of action-packed superhero fare. But if you're a woman of a certain age, you can ignore all that because the movie "Book Club" was made just for you. NPR's Lynn Neary checked it out with a book club, of course.
LYNN NEARY, BYLINE: Let's face it. This movie is just begging to be watched with a book club. So I invited one to join me earlier this week.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Same movie.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Are you paying together or separately?
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I can pay for Dottie.
NEARY: Five members of the book club - Elizabeth Taglieri, Alicia Brown, Melanie Mbuyi, Dottie McCarthy and Trish Petty showed up.
TRISH PETTY: We were just talking about the ranking of the book club - who's the oldest member, who's the youngest member. And I brought that up because I'm the youngest member.
NEARY: They all admitted they'd been curious about the film.
ALICIA BROWN: Well, I was definitely going to see it. So I mean, the four actresses...
ELIZABETH TAGLIERI: Yeah.
BROWN: ...And it got pretty good reviews.
PETTY: Friends of mine saw it in New York City. And they loved it. I'm just saying - our age.
TAGLIERI: Dottie's sister saw it.
DOTTIE MCCARTHY: No, my friend Lynn saw it.
TAGLIERI: And she liked it.
MCCARTHY: Didn't like it.
NEARY: It is the stars who are the main attraction of "Book Club" - Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen - a bevy of women whose talent and beauty have withstood the test of time. Improbably, these remarkable women all have their lives changed when they decide to read "Fifty Shades Of Grey."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BOOK CLUB")
CANDICE BERGEN: (As Sharon) We started this book club to stimulate our minds.
JANE FONDA: (As Vivian) From what I hear, this book is quite stimulating.
NEARY: These gorgeous women all live in gorgeous houses. And a couple of them end up being courted by gorgeous older men. Throughout the film, they drink copious amounts of wine, which makes a viewer a little thirsty.
BROWN: Yeah, after all that wine...
TAGLIERI: I would have a glass of wine.
BROWN: They did get that right.
NEARY: Fortunately, this movie theater has a bar. But everyone was shocked when they were told they had to show their ID to be served.
TAGLIERI: Here, can I give her my Medicare card? Does that count?
NEARY: The movie itself got mixed reviews from the group. Unbelievable but pleasant, with a fair number of laughs, they said.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: The funniest line was, we're not spring flowers. We're potpourri.
TAGLIERI: That was hysterical.
NEARY: Alicia Brown was surprised by one thing.
BROWN: I thought it was going to be a lot more about the book, rather than just the book sparked an awakening. I thought it was going to be much more explicit.
MCCARTHY: But it was a true book club. They didn't talk about the book.
MCCARTHY: They just drank wine.
MCCARTHY: They just drank wine. They spent about two minutes on the book.
NEARY: We all agreed that "Book Club" will attract book clubs, though Elizabeth Taglieri and Dottie McCarthy did part ways on one point.
TAGLIERI: If husbands want to see what book clubs are about, they should come and see the movie, too.
MCCARTHY: Mine would've walked out.
NEARY: As to whether they'd recommend the experience to their friends - the movie? Maybe. The book? Not so much. The wine? Definitely. Lynn Neary, NPR News, Washington.
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