Starring: Keri Russell, Jennifer Coolidge, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Georgia King, James Callis, Ricky Whittle, Jane Seymour
Directed by:Jerusha Hess
Run Time: 97 mins
Genre: Comedy/ Romance
Opens August 23rd
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Hey Phoenix Film Fans! Opening this week is something for all the literary fans out there, especially fans of the Jane Austen's work. This the first based-on-a-book film from Stefanie Meyers that she did not write, her production company Fickle Fish, produced.
For as long as she can remember, Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) has been in love with Mr. Darcy. Because of the unrequited love her romantic relationships as an adult have suffered, and as a result, she is a single lonely woman living a really blase life. Her dream is to travel to Austenland, a Jane Austen themed resort, where the guests become the stars in their own Jane Austen romance.
Tired of living in this dream world, Jane takes a huge risk spending most of her life savings to go to Austenland. She makes a pact with her best friend if she has a terrible time she will give up the Mr. Darcy fantasy for good and move on in her life.
When she arrives in England, she meets a fellow Austen enthusiast Miss Elizabeth (Jennifer Coolidge), who is not the typical Austen fan, but really just out to meet men. At Austenland, the actors are to create the illusion of a live Jane Austen character, which at the end the actors are to pretend they are in love with the guest. The owner of the retreat, Mrs. Wattlesbrook (Jane Seymore) determined the quality of the experience based on the packaged purchased. Jane spring for the most affordable package where she finds herself living the role of a simpleton. The joke is on Mrs. Wattelsbrook as two suitors fall for Jane, Martin (Bret McKenzie), one of the hired help/ groundskeeper, not a part of the charade, and Mr. Henry Nobley (JJ Feild) one of the actors to play the Mr. Darby type. Now Jane finds her self in a strange love triangle between two men whom she's unsure of her feelings. Will this be just a vacation fling or something much more? Whom will Jane pick, the man rooted in reality or fantasy?
Capturing all the essence that draw women to Jane Austen works like moths to a flame, "Austenland" is just quirky and adorable where it's not falling into a trap of being too cliche. More of a cheeky type of British humor, this romantic comedy, although Keri Russell, mostly known for her more dramatic role on television (Felicity, The Americans) captures the same comedic magic that worked so well for her in the 2007 film "Waitress". Jennifer Coolidge plays her typical zany sidekick, much like in "Legally Blonde", but more outrageous in the stuffy British setting. Be sure to catch"Austenland" when it opens in theaters starting Friday August 23,2013.