Austenland, directed by Jerusha Hess and based on a novel by Shannon Hale, is a rom-com whose target audience remains unclear.
Keri Russell (Felicity) plays Jane, a pert American 30-something, who is a die-hard Austen fan seeking her own Mr Darcy. Jane announces she’s blown her life’s savings for a trip to ‘Austenland’, a UK manor house-come-theme park, devoted to the mores and manners of Regency England.
On arrival Jane pairs up with a middle-aged American cougar, played by the normally funny Jennifer Coolidge (Best in Show) whose sole purpose is to utter hammy Anglo clichés.
As the ladies play out their pre-allocated roles at the manor, to a soundtrack of cheesy 80s ‘grrrl’ power ballads, what ensues is a high camp flounce through mindless misunderstandings, aborted romances and period cos-play.
Alas, with a mainly female cast, director, writer and producers, one would’ve hoped for something just a little more refined. (RF)