Austenland FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Sony Pictures Classic, Stage 6, Fickle Fish Films and Moxie Pictures present a PG-13, 97 minute, romantic comedy, directed by Jerusha Hess, written by Hess and Shannon Hale with a theater release date of September 13, 2013.
What woman, for that matter what man would not like to live their fantasy for at least a week? Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) who happens to love Darcy, the character from Jane Austen’s book, Pride and Prejudice, has spent her entire savings to live out her fantasy in Austenland, a travelers experience to live out an Austen novel set in the 1800’s.
When Jane arrives in England she meets up with Miss Elizabeth Charming (Jennifer Coolidge) who happens to be taking the same experience but only as a platinum member, meaning her experience as a princess will not compare to Jane’s somewhat servant ordeal. The question here is if Jane’s experience will be enough to make her continue to love Darcy, looking for her knight in shining armor or will it be so horrific that once and for all she will forget about her obsession with finding the perfect Darcy clone.
Once at the castle, both women arrive to meet their host Mrs. Wattlesbrook (Jane Seymour) who looks up to Elizabeth as a platinum member but down on Jane who happens to only afford the cheapest experience. They soon meet Colonel Andrews (James Callis) who takes up with Elizabeth and Mr. Henry Nobley (JJ Field) who’s first impression for Jane is not favorable which leads her to take interest in the servant Martin (Bret McKenzie) who apparently tends to be quite the handy man on the grounds, in the barn, around horses and a number of strategically placed stuffed animals. Their experience starts out well as they meet yet another guest staying at Austenland, Lady Amelia Heartwright (Georgia King) who happens to be a repeat visitor coming back for more of Captain George East (Ricky Whittle) the chiseled muscular black man sure to melt any woman’s heart amongst other things.
It’s hard enough to live in the real world but when Jane discovers that the unreal world is not perfect her dreams and hopes of finding her Darcy are forever lost. Or are they? When one person's fantasy crashes another’s seems to take flight half way across the country somewhat similar to the pages of a Jane Austen novel but this time all the characters are real and not an actor want to be.
I enjoyed the film but not enough to say it will make a box office splash, more like a sputter maybe! It seemed to get lost within itself, the direction was well done for the most part but the writing could have added some better elements to the characters seeing that none of them really had time to develop their roles letting the audience into their lives, allowing us to become invested in them personally. I also would have liked to see more conflict between the men pursuing Jane. The foundation was set but the building never really gets built for the audience to appreciate the premise of this love story. We wanted Cinderella but seemed to get the ugly stepsister for the most part. It does however have some wonderful cinematography and a nice soundtrack along with some interesting costumes but overall besides targeted solely at the women demographic it may be a good rental rather than a date night at the theater.
Thankfully, Coolidge who I love happens to save the day as she brings her quirky humorous self into this bad accented Miss Charming character who happens to be looking for a hot time at Austenland. Russell is truly the girl next door but in this case the woman next store since she is definitely not a young girl any more. She plays her character well but I kept hoping for just a little more fantasy from her which is not her fault but rather that of the writers since she obviously does her lines justice. Feild is a noble character that spikes our interest but once again falls short in the interpretation of his written dialogue. Seymour was spot on like a good cup of tea as is King, McKenzie, Callis and Whittle but if only the story had a bit more conflict, love and Coolidge then this film may have caused the temperature to rise making it a bit more hot in here. Written with two paws out of four by Jon Patch.
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