Sentence I frankly did not expect to be typing this week: "The 'Fifty Shades of Grey' movie was better than I expected."

Sentence I frankly did not expect to be typing this week: "The 'Fifty Shades of Grey' movie was better than I expected."

This is to say that it is far better than its source material, the runaway best-selling novel I read in a fit of my own masochism. Or, more accurately, I skimmed it. The prose of author E.L. James became my brain's own Red Room of Pain.

This is also not to say that the "Fifty Shades" movie is good. It's not.

If you don't know the story of college student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and her romance with young entrepreneur BDSM enthusiast Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), I don't know, consider yourself lucky?

This movie's built-in audience are the people that made this book sell 100 million copies, despite a narrator who exclaims "jeez" while in the throes of orgasm and talks about her "bottom" like she's a 4-year-old. Apparently even a lot of fans of the book know it's kind of awful.

The good(?) news is that director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel also seem to appreciate how bad the source material is. The laughable prose and dialogue are mostly worked over, so only the troubling, not-exactly-BDSM plot remains.

More good(?) news: Johnson gives a surprising performance - and I'm talking when she's not naked for one of the many softly-lit Zalman King-eque sex scenes. She also brings some unexpected humor to the proceedings, mostly in the timing of her flustered responses. Her co-star Dornan, on the other hand, is noticeably flat, and the onscreen chemistry is not exactly smoldering.

The production is pretty slick (shot by the cinematographer of "The Avengers" and "Atonement," score by Danny Elfman(?)), but let's not forget the source material was originally conceived as "Twilight" fan-fiction (seriously, not making that up), and it shows in the same troubling patterns of abuse of power in the core relationship.

Allow me to join the chorus of critics who have recommended that you check out a smarter, kinkier and all-around better BDSM romance this weekend and rent 2002's "Secretary."