Rated: PG-13
Release Date: 05/12/2023
Production Company: Focus Features

Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, Giancarlo Giannini and Andy García.

Director: Bill Holderman. Producers: Bill Holderman and Erin Simms. Executive Producers: Andrew Duncan, Trish Hofmann, Enzo Sisti and Brad Weston. Screenwriters: Brad Holderin and Erin Simms. Cinematographer: Andrew Dunn.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Well, look who is back. Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen have returned for another go round in the romantic comedy "Book Club: The Next Chapter." It's the slightly funnier and raunchier sequel to 2018's box office hit, "Book Club."

Directed and written by Bill Holderman ("The Old Man & The Gun") and Erin Simms ("Book Club"), "Book Club: The Next Chapter" finds Vivian (a fabulous Jane Fonda, "80 for Brady"), Sharon (a funny Candice Bergen, "As They Made Us"), Diane (the delightful Diane Keaton ,"Maybe I Do" and "Mack & Rita"), and Carol (a colorful Mary Steenburgen, TV's "Mr. Mayor") shaking off the doldrums from the COVID-19 lockdowns. Now, they're finally ready to come out and play.

Carol, who used to own/run a five-star restaurant until COVID-19 caused it to permanently shut down, has been tending to her husband Bruce (Craig T. Nelson, TV's "Young Sheldon") who suffered a mild heart attack. Diane is still living happily together with that wonderful airplane pilot, Mitchell (Andy Garcia, "Father of the Bride"). Retired federal judge and divorcée Sharon continues to live her best life. She is keeping all her dating options wide open. Vivian--the most vibrant and outgoing of the bunch--has a huge decision to make. She adores Arthur (a fine Don Johnson, upcoming "The Collective"), the handsome, hunky retired music producer.

Despite flaunting that huge diamond on her finger, she's not sure about marrying him. Vivian has never been married, doesn't have any children, has plenty of money and wonders if marriage is the right step for her. But that Arthur has her going.

When the book club women finally meet at Carol's house for delicious wine and food--emphasis on wine-- they start talking about things they've all wanted to do, but never got around to it like taking a trip to Italy. Why not now? They aren't getting any younger and who knows if they will all be healthy and together to make it happen.

So, it's off to Italy to drink wine, meet men--that Sharon is a real cougar--and soak up all the sights. Plus, Vivian is in for a special treat when she learns her friends are planning a bachelorette party for her.

The lighthearted sexual innuendoes and sight gags involving statues, buffed police, a Police Chief (Giancarlo Giannini, "The Cook & The Critic"), a blast from Carol's past, Chef Gianni (Vincent Riotta, "Tar"), and Sharon's new love interest, Ousmane (a terrific Hugh Quarshie, "The Son"), provide some of the movie's biggest laugh out loud moments. Others are a bit cliched and fall flat. In addition, the beauty of Venice, Rome and Tuscany are on full display and also steal the show.

I'm eager to see what the next chapter brings for these adventurous women. They definitely seem to be having a blast here. I also can't help but wonder what kind of romantic dramady someone like director/screenwriter Nancy Meyers could cook up with Fonda, Bergen, Steenburgen and Keaton. Until then, this "Book Club" is still worth joining.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 5:17 p.m. and 6:47 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.

Look At This Trailer For "BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.


Year Released: 1975
Running Time: 109
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Director: Berry Gordy, Tony Richardson and Jack Wormser
Director of Photography: David Watkin
Screenwriter: John Byrum and Toni Amber
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Do you know where you're going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to?
Do you know?
Do you get what you're hoping for? When you look behind you, there's no open doors. What are you hoping for? Do you know? "Theme from Mahogany...
The "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" was sung by Diana Ross in the 1975 movie "Mahogany." But, who initially recorded the song in 1973?
"Roberta Flack"
"Natalie Cole"
"Deniece Williams"
"Thelma Houston"