four women walking with luggage at an airport
Credit: Riccardo Ghilardi / Focus Features

The Book Club broads have gone worldwide. In Book Club: The Next Chapter, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen are fresh out of COVID lockdown and bound for Italy, hell-bent on throwing a bachelorette party for the newly engaged Vivian (Fonda), who’s finally decided to settle down with paramour Arthur (Don Johnson). Italy, it seems, was always a dream of the longtime friends—at least until life, kids, and husbands with conveniently introduced heart conditions got in the way. 

Once in Italy, The Next Chapter turns into a blitz of stunning scenery shots, “women trying on clothing” montages, and cucina- and meatball-related double entendres. Fonda and Keaton ably deliver, but it’s Bergen who shines brightest as confidently mature judge Sharon, equally comfortable having a one-night stand in a Venetian gondola as she is going toe-to-toe with a Tuscan sheriff. Steenburgen gets a little shine, too, in a spicy scene with a former paramour who (sadly) just serves to remind her that she loves her husband back in the States. 

While those looking for a Pulitzer Prize–winning page-turner will feel less than stimulated by The Next Chapter, anyone browsing shelves (or theaters) for a mindless beach read should find something to enjoy in Book Club. PG-13, 107 min.

Wide release in theaters