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Austenland (2013) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 26 July 2013


Jay´s Review

Hmmm... A young American woman is so obsessed with Jane Austen that she has decorated her bedroom with a life-size image of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice," plus she has doilies, pillows, flowers, ribbons, dolls, and other frilly, girly stuff right out of Austen's books. In this PG-13 cringe-worthy calamity, our fixated sweet thing finds a British theme tour devoted to All Things Austen, so thither she goes! In my personal opinion, this dame has a screw loose.

Writer/director Jerusha Hess ("Napoleon Dynamite") has assembled a sterling cast (numerous awards and honors), then subjected them (and us) to this lame offering.

I blushed for:

  • * Keri Russell ("August Rush") is Jane, ready to spend her life savings just to experience a Jane Austen moment. Problem is, she can't afford the premium tour, so is assigned a small room in the servants' wing at Pemberly.
  • * JJ Feild ("Northanger Abbey") is Mr. Henry Nobley, who immediately starts giving off antagonistic vibes to our heroine (hint, hint). As you can see, Mr. F. already has credibility in an Austen story.
  • * Jennifer Coolidge (Lots of TV) is Miss Elizabeth Charming, a daffy, obscenely rich guest at Pemberly. Not even Coolidge's considerable talent could save this thing.
  • * Jane Seymour ("The Family Tree") is Mrs. Wattlesbrook, the proprietress of this ridiculous venture. She hasn't a benevolent bone in her body.
  • * Bret McKenzie (TV series "Flight of the Conchords") is Martin, the handsome stable hand who offers Jane a friendly shoulder.
  • * Ricky Whittle (Lots of TV) who looks for all the world like the guy in the Old Spice commercial; this strapping fellow rips off his shirt at the slightest provocation...and we're glad he does...small blessings....smile...

Did I rate it? Yes - WSF (Worst So Far, which I've only used one other time this year) based on script, plot, acting and production design. I realize that all the stuffed chickens, peacocks, lambs, etc., were supposed to look phony, but these were insultingly so! I hated the fake birth of the colt and I cringed at the awkward references to "Emma," "Persuasion," "Sense & Sensibility," etc., etc., etc...

The young, estrogen-stoked women in the screening audience were vocal and upbeat throughout this ordeal; they applauded (!) at the end, while I apologized to my companions for subjecting them to this travesty. I enjoy Chick Flicks, but this one is in a league of its own. YOYO (You're On Your Own)

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