Jane Austen fans beware. Do not watch this film.
For years, us Austen fans have seen Mr Darcy spread very thin across many forms of entertainment and Austenland was no exception of this despoiling behaviour. The film, produced by Twilight author Stephanie Meyer and directed by Napoleon Dynamite co-writer Jerusha Hess, comprised a stellar cast who were utterly wasted on such a disgraceful and obvious story.
The heroine Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) had always wanted to find a handsome suitor who carried all the attributes of a classic Austen man. She packed her bags and bought a ticket to Austenland in search of him. Her limited funds meant she entered her fantasy land on a budget and wasn’t cast in a leading role. And instead of finding Mr Darcy she found the stable boy. It was at this point that Austenland could have become interesting and relevant, but instead it became cliché and dramatically boring.
This romantic comedy did manage to make others laugh and there were moments when characters shone. Jane Seymour performed Mrs Wattlesbrook’s narcissism extremely well and Bret Mackenzie from Flight of the Conchords performed the part of the stable boy, Martin, adequately enough but occasionally forgot to hide his distinct New Zealander accent. Jennifer Coolidge played a ditzy Miss Elizabeth Charming and JJ Field’s Mr Henry Nobley would have been an asset to the movie if he did what Mr Darcy did not and took off his clothes.
If films with unexciting plot lines, terrible fake accents and dismal love stories with the occasional rocking dance number are your thing, then Austenland is, at very least, a DVD movie for you.
BY LOUISE JECKELLS
Austenland is in cinemas on Thursday November 28.