50 Shades! The Parody Spanks the Phenomenon and Leaves Marks


So this hip-thrusting dude high-fives me in mid-grind, humping a woman doggy-style at … wait, was this at the classy showroom or a scuzzy bar toilet?

Nope—classy showroom. Them, in the aisle. Me, in the aisle seat. Another patron goes nose to nose with the grind-ee. … Relax, it’s actors only dry-humping—they’re not crude, after all.

Then there’s fisting jokes.

LOL-ing over BDSM is 50 Shades! The Parody at Bally’s, spoofing E.L. James’ trashy novel (and movie) Fifty Shades of Grey (its popularity suggesting the world is off its meds).

If you come from Carolina, I’m gonna get into your vagina, goes one lyric. If you’re staying at Bally’s, I’m gonna fuck you in your back alley, goes another. When it’s dumb, it’s pretty dumb—that’s the smart point. Still, the creators owe a convenience fee for a target as fat as this pop-culture oil spill.

Twin narratives play out: Book-club gal pals giggle over the novel as scenes depict the “relationship” of virginal student Anastasia Steele and publishing tycoon Christian Grey, with his “particular” tastes and encyclopedia-thick “contract” to make her his submissive.

Opening groaner jokes had me fearing another Pawn Shop Live! (Lord, no!), but 50 Shades! is clever about puncturing its source material. Rather than betray underlying affection for it, it amplifies its lameness as a porn-lite phenomenon.

“If this were a book,” one character says, “it would be terrible.” When Tatiana Mac as Anastasia sings “There’s a Hole Inside of Me,” featuring every conceivable double entendre, you can take it as high school-level sex gags or an incisive swipe at the world’s adolescent swooning over something largely considered a clumsily written masturbatory fantasy.

Sweet and saucer-eyed, Mac is a pixie-pie who brings a lovable cluelessness to discovering the darker sexual arts. When she giggles through an explanation to her roommate that when Grey put his balls inside her, she meant Ben Wa balls, it’s downright adorable.

In the big comic reveal, Greg Kata, playing Grey with entertaining pomposity, strips to expose a blobby, love-handled body not quite Grey-like. Fearlessly flaunting his flab in a onesie accentuating his ampleness, he hilariously steals the show with “I Don’t Make Love” as a Greek chorus shouts, He fucks! He fucks! He fucks!

(Producers tried to withhold Kata’s identity as a “surprise,” as if knowing would trigger a stampede to Google Image. Producers: You’re over-anticipating people’s anticipation of this show.)

Among supporting players, Zipporah Peddle as both the roommate and a book-club gal is a winning wiseass, and Ryan Flanigan’s overstimulated Latin lover is a goofy hoot.

50 Shades The Parody! is unafraid to crack the satirical whip on our social neuroses, as when Grey shows Anastasia his “red room’” of pain-as-pleasure devices in a Gilbert and Sullivan-style song. Absurdly funny, it reflects our societal immaturity: While sadomasochistic sex is a complex web of psychology and catharsis—adult stuff—the wider public embraces it mostly as a puerile pop-lit trend.

In sexual matters, we’re often emotionally childish. We need a cultural spanking.

Got an entertainment tip? Email Steve.Bornfeld@VegasSeven.com.

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