Book Club: The Next Chapter parents guide

Book Club: The Next Chapter Parent Guide

The only emotion this movie evokes is embarrassment at the sight of once-illustrious actors in such a mediocre production.

Overall C-

Theaters: Four best friends go to Italy for an extended bachelorette party.

Release date May 12, 2023

Violence A-
Sexual Content C+
Profanity C-
Substance Use C-

Why is Book Club: The Next Chapter rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Book Club: The Next Chapter PG-13 for some strong language and suggestive material.

Run Time: 107 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Finally reunited with her friends after covid lockdowns, Vivian (Jane Fonda) shares some startling news: after a lifetime of flying solo, she’s finally engaged. Carol (Mary Steenburgen) suggests that the four gal pals celebrate this momentous event with an extended bachelorette party in Italy. Diane (Diane Keaton) and Sharon (Candice Bergen) initially demur, but fate takes a hand and soon the women are happily sipping prosecco and enjoying Rome’s splendid vistas.

This sequel aims to provide more than an Italian travelogue, which is unfortunate, because the sun-kissed scenery is hands-down the best part of the movie. The film is part wedding flick, featuring a “say yes to the dress montage” and part drama, with some unconvincing plot developments and an irritatingly predictable plot twist at the end. Sadly, the entire production is terrible: the writing probably looked better on the page and the acting is inexcusably bad. I’m not sure if director Bill Holderman deserves the blame for this fiasco or if it can be laid at the feet of the cast. These women all had illustrious careers and it’s embarrassing to watch their flat performances in this uninspired film. There’s no shame in retiring when you’re no longer at the top of your game - and it’s time for a serious conversation between these actors and their agents. Either they need better material or it’s time to ride off into the sunset.

Hardcore fans of these women might be willing to sit through a tiresome film just to watch their favorites on the big screen but there are few other rewards to be found. The themes about being authentic, facing hard truths, and supporting friends are fine but the movie also delivers less appealing messages. There is a particularly long discourse on the irrelevance of marriage, which seems odd in a romantic comedy. The production also features a liver-soaking amount of alcohol with the characters drinking in almost every scene. They imbibe to such an extent that some of them seem to be tipsy for a significant amount of the movie’s runtime. (This might explain some of the cussing and the repeated sexual innuendo.) The story also discards its own threadbare self-respect and descends to the world of product placement, making a pointed reference to a Halo smart watch. In-script advertising is a pet peeve of mine and I resent paying to watch advertisements trying to go undercover in a film.

Book Club: The Next Chapter offers a few minutes of lovely Italian scenery, a couple of funny jokes, and some solid female bonding. Its soundtrack provides pop classics sung in Italian, which is really the only novelty to be found in the movie. I’m just crossing my fingers that this is the last chapter of this particularly irksome franchise.

Directed by Bill Holderman. Starring Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen. Running time: 107 minutes. Theatrical release May 12, 2023. Updated

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Book Club: The Next Chapter
Rating & Content Info

Why is Book Club: The Next Chapter rated PG-13? Book Club: The Next Chapter is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some strong language and suggestive material.

Violence: A dog dies off screen.
Sexual Content: There are several scenes of men and women kissing. There is an implied post-coital scene. There are repeated moments of sexual and anatomical innuendo. Marble statues are shown with visible breasts and male genitalia. There are jokes about female genitalia, bikini waxing, and strippers. A woman wrongly assumes that a man is a stripper and gropes his arm and tries to undo his pants.
Profanity: The script contains over 40 terms of deity, a half dozen scatological curses and minor profanities, and a single sexual expletive.
Alcohol / Drug Use:   Main characters drink alcohol throughout the movie and are frequently tipsy.

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Book Club: The Next Chapter Parents' Guide

The friends often deliver hard truths to each other. What do each of the women learn about themselves thanks to their insightful friends? Do any of those lessons ring a bell for you? Have you ever faced a difficult truth about yourself? Did it change your perspective or behavior in any way?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

The four friends begin their adventures on the big screen in 2018’s Book Club. Jane Fonda stars in another movie about senior friendships and football in 80 for Brady. Diane Keaton leads the cast in Poms, a story about a woman with terminal cancer who joins with new friends in a senior’s complex to fulfil her dream of being a cheerleader. The Jane Austen Book Club tells the story of four women whose lives begin to resemble the books they cherish.