Austenland
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +2

Keri Russell, JJ Feild (yes, that’s how he spells it), Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, Georgia King, James Callis, Ricky Whittle. Comedy/romance. Written by Jerusha Hess, Shannon Hale. Directed by Jerusha Hess.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Obsessed with all things Jane Austen, a woman travels to a theme resort dedicated to the author, in search of her perfect gentleman.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Some can justly call this a fandom “chick” flick. I, however, would simply label it “different.” It’s about a woman enraptured with romance. She’s so into this world of Jane Austen that when she arrives at Heathrow Airport in Merry Olde England, she’s already decked out in the costume of the period. And ultimately, the money used for the adventure is well spent. I think the same can be said, marginally, for those looking for something without car crashes or comic book super battles.

Though the humor occasionally gets bawdy (bawdy: crude humor defused by wit), it’s never smutty. The people communicate without those two obscenities that seem to pop up in every other film, and romance is the focus of the story, not sexual conquest (well, for our heroine, anyway). Sadly, the cleverness found in Jane Austen’s best writings is absent here. The filmmakers got the look right, but not the style. It’s more a sour sitcom than tender tribute to classic literature.

For me what does work is its star, Keri Russell. Though not the possessor of the erotic beauty of, say, Scarlett Johansson, the 30-somethng Russell is more the pretty woman next door (don’t I wish). The star of the fabulous Waitress, which showcased her flexibility with humor and pathos, once again brings magic to the screen. The actress (TV’s Felicity and movies Mission Impossible 3, The Upside of Marriage, August Rush) gives a balanced, always mesmerizing performance in an otherwise insubstantial movie offering.

Want good Jane Austen? Try the following:
Sense and Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice

Here’s my take on August Rush and Waitress.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Summary
Crude Language: A couple of crude sexual innuendos.
Obscene Language: I caught none
Profanity: None
Violence: A drunken man attempts a clumsy seducing, which becomes a molestation until the woman goes all Ninja and knocks the old gizzer to the ground.
Sexual Intercourse: Some kissing, but the lead character’s focus is on finding romance, not merely sexual gratification.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Some drinking.
Other: None
Running Time: 97 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and up

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