According to the ancient holy text Scream 2, there are certain rules one must abide by to create a successful sequel. The main one is this: Whatever happened in the original should always be bigger and more elaborate in the sequel. If it’s a horror movie, more people should die. If it’s an action movie, more things should explode. And if it’s a sex movie, there should be more sex stuff.
Which brings us to Christian Grey’s penis.
The original Fifty Shades of Grey was infamous for only giving viewers the tiniest glimpse — a dash of shaft — of Christian Grey’s penis. Accordingly, the new sequel Fifty Shades Darker would seem to have an obvious way to raise the stakes: Give. Us. That. Dick. No one needs a full-on money shot (this isn’t Tell Me You Love Me), but fans of all ages could enjoy a subtle, restrained, classy penis shot. Think of the way David Fincher showed us Ben Affleck’s penis in Gone Girl — and that movie was nominated for four Golden Globes! As someone in Washington might say, it’s an easy D.
But reader, I have bad news for you: You do not see Christian Grey’s penis in Fifty Shades Darker. No head, no shaft, and not even a split-second of balls. When Christian and Anastasia have passionate make-up sex, there’s no penis. When they’re getting to third base in a fancy elevator while “Moondance” plays, there’s no penis. When they enjoy a round of foreplay on a pommel horse, there’s no penis.
In fact, there’s a lot less male nudity than you might expect. Like fight scenes in a superhero movie or arias in opera, the sex scenes in Fifty Shades are a way for characters to express higher emotions than mere words can allow. (Especially when those words are the ones in a Fifty Shades script.) But compared to the first installment, the sex scenes in Darker feel buttoned-up. I mean that both figuratively and literally: In true PG-13 fashion, Christian Grey does not even stop to take his pants off most of the time. Even during the most vigorous coitus, his trousers manage to stay impeccably upright, falling down just enough to show off one delicate inch of buttock.
Why does Christian fuck in his pants so often? Is it some freaky S&M thing? (“If I can’t restrain my partner, at least I can restrain my thighs!”) Is it proof that, alongside his inability to chop a bell pepper, his luxurious lifestyle has made him incapable of performing even the most basic of tasks? Or is it evidence of the missteps that can come from hiring a male director — Glengarry Glen Ross’ James Foley, taking over for Sam Taylor-Johnson — for such a female-focused film?
Because, while Jamie Dornan stays relatively clothed in the film, Dakota Johnson does not. Though she too gets a break from full-frontal this time, Foley’s camera takes care to linger on her legs, her breasts, her lingerie-clad butt. It’s hard to make one-to-one comparisons for levels of male and female nudity, but this movie’s todger ledger definitely skews one way.
Obviously, we don’t want to pressure Jamie Dornan into showing his penis if he doesn’t want to show it. But if he does, James Foley would be wise to heed the lesson of his earlier hit: Get him to sign on the line which is dotted, and give us that dick.