Saturday, August 31 2013, 03:01 PM MDT
Movie Review: Austenland
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Jerusha Hess
Starring: Keri Russell, JJ Field, Jennifer Coolidge
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Recommended To: Jane Austen devotees only.
Synopsis: Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) life is stuck in reverse. To escape from the doldrums she gives into her Jane Austen obsession and spends her savings on a trip to Austenland, a theme park dedicated to giving its guests the Austen experience of their dreams.
Review: There are films that are made for such a specific audience that those who aren't deeply invested in the subject are likely to be left scratching their heads while the devoted fan base screams with delight. Austenland is one of those films.
Directed by Jerusha Hess (co-writer of Napoleon Dynamite), Austenland is a journey into Austen obsession. It is both a loving parody and tribute to the authors style and formula. Russell is likable as the hapless romantic and JJ Field shines as an actor cast to play Mr. Henry Nobley, the Mr. Darcy in Janes fantasy world. Jennifer Coolidge, a fellow Austenland attendee, exists purely for comedic relief. I found her constant adlibbing to be somewhat out of place (shes much better when paired with other adlibbing actors).
Frankly I didn't find the film to be all that entertaining. I thought it would be cleverer. Maybe I just don't know Austen's work well enough to understand all the references. The audience, however, found the film to be extremely enjoyable. This one is for the fans.
-Ryan Michael Painter