Viewers are practically beside themselves with anticipation of the Valentine's Day release, which leads to the obvious question. How lame are their sex lives?
Some 36.4 million eager clickers have watched the trailer, according to The New Paper last week, with comments such as "The movie looks as dirty as hell", "My heart is racing" and "I was only looking for a Dulux paint chart".
In the name of journalistic research, I lavished 2½ minutes of my time watching the trailer and have to concur that Fifty Shades promises to be the finest comedy since Dumb And Dumber.
Based on the clip, the gist of the plot appears to be that a woman goes to work for a businessman who is rather rich, but does not own a shirt.
He spends more time topless than an over-eager job interviewee at Hooters.
The woman finds his bare chest erotic and he seduces her - by explaining that he is, in fact, a pervert.
At this point, most women would reach for the can of mace. But our leading lady swoons, presumably because he has drugged her.
Our heroic pervert then opens a door to reveal a room that contains either some disturbing sado-masochistic equipment or Sylvester Stallone's gym.
The trailer ends with a final shot of the woman tied up, restricted, clearly uncomfortable, with no room to move, and with a sweaty, heavy-breathing man in close proximity.
If that is her fetish, then a trip on the MRT during rush hour would do the trick.
And that is the trailer - a submissive, subservient woman yielding to the demands of what seems to be a misogynistic man.
If that is not a romantic Valentine's date movie, then I do not know what is.
Of course, I have not read the book. After all, "mummy porn" is not really something you can add to a Christmas list.
Besides, I do not need to read it. My 66-year-old father-in-law is the foremost authority on Fifty Shades Of Grey.
He has read every word, page and chapter from front to back - twice.
Ordinarily, he refuses to read anything that does not include football scores or lottery results.
I have it on good authority that he has used a book written by me - his own son-in-law - to correct uneven chair legs on a wobbly table.
But he adores Fifty Shades Of Grey, as does his septuagenarian brother-in-law. They get rather overheated when reading, and there is a genuine concern that the book could kill either of them.
Imagine trying to explain that one in the eulogy... "A proud husband, father and grandfather, he died as he lived, reading about a tied-up secretary in fishnet stockings being horsewhipped by her boss."
They call Fifty Shades "mummy porn", but I suspect the average book readers' club would resemble a late-night audience at the old Yangtze Cinema.
My father-in-law insists that the book is "educational", in the way that Yangtze's regulars were connoisseurs of indie art-house cinema. He once came out with the oldest defence for soft-porn fetishists.
"It's not just the sex," he insisted to me. "Fifty Shades has really good characters and a good plot."
"But so does Dickens," I pointed out. "And I've never seen you read Bleak House." "Yeah, but Dickens never wrote about bare boobies."
It was like talking to a 12-year-old boy gripped by the first pangs of puberty.
"But you can get all that with one Google search," I maintained.
"True, true, I can't argue with that," he admitted. "But you should see this chapter here, it's really dirty. Have a look up. He ties her up and…"
Again, he is a 66-year-old man. And he fully intends to take my 62-year-old mother-in-law to see Fifty Shades Of Grey at the cinema.
I might be exaggerating here, but I am pretty sure their last movie date was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
And, yes, he is one of the 36.4 million people who have already watched the trailer.
He struggles with a DVD player, but can find a Fifty Shades Of Grey clip on YouTube. Fortunately, he has at least moved away from the book, thanks to a recent birthday present.
"I love that Game Of Thrones you got me on DVD," he told me on the phone recently.
"It has more naked women than Fifty Shades Of Grey."
This article was published on Aug 3 in The New Paper.
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