Friday, September 06, 2013
“It is very seldom I have seen a bad performance by an actor in a film” was what I wrote in a previous review this past week and then today that ‘very seldom’ reared its head in “Austenland” where there are 2, I hope, purposely bad and 3 just plain bad performances. The latter are by actresses who will remain nameless as I don’t think they will put this film on their resume and not many will see them.
Keri Russell gives a lively performance as Jane who has come to find her Darcy, here called Henry Nobley and played by JJ Feild in an assured performance, in “Austenland”, sort of a full Jane Austen resort. His rival, Martin, (Bret McKenzie) seems to have wandered in from D. H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” as the masculine caretaker. Talk about ‘masculine’, enter Navy very hard body stud Captain George East (Ricky Whittle) who, deservedly, takes off his shirt at any opportunity or just having the camera on him!
The screenplay by the director Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale, who also wrote the ‘chick-lit’ bestseller of the same name, is all over the place being neither a homage to Jane Austen, a romance-comedy or even sticking to the fantasyland idea intruding with a modern soundtrack.
The bottom line is that if you have never read Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”, or one of her other novels, you would be better off reading them or if you have read any of her books reread them and stay away from this movie. It is not a bad movie, even though it has some embarrassing performances, but it does not deliver on the major premise.