Never Too Late

Book Club: The Next Chapter: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson, Andy Garcia and Giancarlo Giannini
Director: Bill Holderman
Scriptwriters: Bill Holderman and Erin Simms
Composer: Tom Howe
Cinematography: Andrew Dunn
Fifth Season/Focus Features
Rated: PG 13
Running Length: 110 Minutes

As if “80 For Brady” (Jane Fonda is the carry-over actress) wasn’t enough, here comes “Book Club: The Next Chapter”. The first “Book Club” was in 2018. Yes, the same group of book ladies are still reading and enjoying each other’s company, but decide to take a trip to Italy as a bachelorette party.  That denotes a marriage in sight--- one of the girls, Jane Fonda, is engaged. This is the plot of getting to Italy, trying to go with the customs, meeting men, and planning a wedding. The combined ages of the ladies would probably be close to 300 years. Enjoyment of life does help. The four stars are Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen. Fonda is engaged to Don Johnson  now. Also carried over from the first “Book Club” film are Craig T. Nelson and Andy Garcia.

The film begins with the idea of a trip abroad and then the planning. As expected, not all goes well either with stolen luggage or a car breakdown.  Eventually, the group ends up in Tuscany where Steenburgen meets, of all things, her first love. Then Diane Keaton meets Andy Garcia and Candice is sort of on the sidelines. What makes this film are the side quips usually given by Candice Bergen. Craig Nelson is there with his stoic but amusing demeanor, and of course, there is the Italian Police officer.

Acting is well done by the cast who seems to be immensely enjoying themselves. Why not?  They could phone in the dialogue and quips and still please the audience. Some moments of hilarity are Keaton and Bergen trying on different types of clothing. Also, be watchful of Jane Fonda’s hair styles.  My favorite is Candice Bergen whose timing is just right and Diane Keaton's clothing choices.

What the film actually amounts to is an advertisement for vacationing in Italy. A beautiful country with wine, pasta, smiles and romance. Oh, that all book clubs could venture on a vacation together. “Book Club: The Next Chapter” is a bit better than “80 For Brady.” Ladies will find these films an adventure. At a guess, a sequel or “Chapter Three” is already on someone’s mind as a script.

Copyright 2023 Marie Asner