AT THE MOVIES
The comedy Book Club opens on Friday, May 18. Here’s the basic plot: Diane (Diane Keaton, 72) is recently widowed after 40 years of marriage. Her daughter, Jill, is played by Alicia Silverstone, 41. (This is Silverstone’s first major studio film in 12 years.)
Diane’s best friends are Sharon (Candice Bergen, 71), a judge who is still upset about her decades-ago divorce; Carol (Mary Steenburgen, 65), who is in a slump in her marriage; and Vivian (Jane Fonda, 80), who enjoys no-strings relationships with men. The action gets rolling when they decide to spice up their dull book club by reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
The book’s main “theme” prompts Carol to try and get her husband to embrace some of the “tie-me-up” kinky stuff in the book. The best-seller’s steamy content convinces Sharon and Diane to jump in the dating pool. They start seeing guys played, respectively, by Richard Dreyfuss, 70, and Andy Garcia, 62. Meanwhile, Vivian starts seeing an old high-school flame played by Don Johnson, 68. Don’s real-life daughter, Dakota, co-starred in the Fifty Shades films, and I suspect there will be a sly reference to that fact in Book Club.
GOTTFRIED — WHO KNEW?
Reasonable people can differ on whether they like the usually dirty stand-up humor of Gilbert Gottfried, 63.
However, I was charmed and touched by the documentary film about his life, Gilbert, which was released in 2017 and is now streaming on Hulu. He wed his girlfriend of 10 years, Dara Kravitz, now 48, in 2007, and they now have two lovable young children. Kravitz is a film producer and a former top record promotion executive.
She is the perfect wife for Gilbert — a miracle really — she’s smart, funny, nurturing and tolerant of his huge quirks and neuroses. She laughs at stuff that would turn off many other women. Gilbert’s wife and kids clearly adore him and just seem to accept his quirks and his absences due to frequent road trips. The unexpected twists continue as we see how kind Gilbert is to his sisters (lots of home movie stuff) and how they, too, adore him. Forget whether you like his comedy — this is a great and oddly heartwarming Jewish family story.
The Orthodox Zayat family had a horse, Solomini, in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Owned by Egyptian-born Ahmed Zayat, 76, he had a big win going into the race, but he drew a poor start position and finished 10th. In 2015, the Zayats’ horse, American Pharoah, was the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown. As I write this, I don’t know if Solomini will run in the Preakness Stakes (May 18), the second leg of the Triple Crown. Solomini is named after Solomon, a toddler in the extended Zayat family.
Former MGM CEO Gary Barber, 60, had a better day with his filly Wonder Gadot (named after — well, you know). Wonder Gadot finished a surprising second in the Kentucky Oaks, the “Derby” for fillies. The Oaks is held at Churchill Downs the day before the Derby.