"Fifty Shades" draws unscripted laughs at Berlin festival

Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:59pm EST
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By Michael Roddy

BERLIN (Reuters) - The movie "Fifty Shades of Grey" is about the serious business of sadomasochism and bondage, but you might not have gathered that from the laughter in the audience at a press screening on Wednesday before the world premiere.

Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele, generally won praise from those at the screening, which was held in conjunction with the Berlin International Film Festival. Christian Grey, who was played by Northern Ireland's Jamie Dornan, was considered something of a cipher.

"She's beautiful, she's a beautiful girl and I think she could make a career because she has the hype around her now," said Christine Staab, who works for the German-based Bauer Media Group, a publishing house that includes women's magazines.

But much of the audience tittered or burst out laughing at some of the movie's more melodramatic dialogue and scenes, mostly taken straight from the book.

The novel is the first in a trilogy by E.L. James. It was widely panned by critics but sold more than 100 million copies and led to a spike in sales for the sex aids mentioned in the book and now featured in the film.

A scene in which Dornan as Grey leaves bed in the middle of the night to play a Chopin piano piece on his Fazioli grand in his penthouse apartment overlooking Seattle drew a particularly large outburst of chuckles.

Others in the audience found their eyes glazing over at the non-stop macho opulence. The display ranges from Grey's self-piloted helicopter through his harem of cars -- apparently every model made by German luxury manufacturer Audi -- and the Apple laptop Grey gives Anastasia to his ordering of brand-name gin for a gin and tonic.

Some Germans didn't think the bondage and sadomasochistic sex scenes were all that titillating -- at least for European audiences.   Continued...

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey. REUTERS/Universal Studios