Sunday, Nov 18, 2018
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website




 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 30 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 35
Read a book instead: Vapid Austenland wastes an inspired premise
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Read a book instead: Vapid Austenland wastes an inspired premise

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

AUSTENLAND Opens August 30

Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is obsessed with Jane Austen. The thirtysomething administrative drone is positive the world would be a better place if things happened more like they did in one of the author's novels, this by all accounts driven, opinionated, and intelligent still relatively young woman having Mr. Darcy fantasies she's never outgrown.

From that starting point blooms Austenland. Based on the book by Shannon Hale, featuring a script co-written by the author and director Jerusha Hess (the Napoleon Dynamite writer making her debut behind the camera), the movie is an odd fantasy creation, a romantic comedy born out of absurdity yet somehow based in an odd, somewhat surreal sensationalistic superficial reality that feels all too real. It takes current manias with the likes of the Kardashians or any of the 'Real Housewives' to an entirely different plane, commenting on celebrity obsession in a way I can't really say I've seen attempted similarly before.

This does not make the movie good, per se - it just makes it unique. Suffice it to say this adaptation is as big a missed opportunity as anything I've seen this year, a handful of wonderful comedic performances undone by an unfocused, overly melodramatic script and muddled, ham-fisted directorial choices keeping things from resonating on any level other than the superficial. It drowns in treacle and pointless sentimentality, leaving a number of its secondary characters hanging in limbo while Jane never comes to life as fully or as completely as she deserves to.

SOME BRIGHT SPOTS
Not that the film is a complete waste of time. Whoever had the brilliant idea to cast Jennifer Coolidge and then let her freelance her way through it all with enchanting, invigorating inspiration deserves a raise. She's known as Miss Elizabeth Charming, and she's come to the Jane Austen wonderland for - well, I can't really come up with a reason, but that's perfectly OK. Why? Because she's awesome, doing and saying things that feel completely spur-of-the-moment and as such she's a continual joy, giving the proceedings an energy and a vitality they otherwise would not have enjoyed.

If only the rest were worthy of the same sorts of accolades. Russell tries her best, and there are certainly moments where she charmed the pants right off me, making me grin wildly in something akin to glee. Overall, however, much of what Jane is forced to do is laughably idiotic. Her dual relationships with a sexy fake stablehand (Bret McKenzie) and a faux Mr. Darcy (JJ Feild), going by the nom de guerre Mr. Henry Nobley, aren't as enchanting as they deserve to be, everything building in ways that are as facile as they are transparent. The film hangs its lead character out to dry and doesn't do anything of merit with her, everything building to a supposedly heartwarming conclusion that left me as cold as it did disappointed.

I wish I had better news. Jane Seymour has some nice moments as the woman behind the mirage, her haughty nastiness a delicious counterpoint to the mundane sterility of the prim and proper romantic world she's constructed in such detail. Georgia King is also enjoyable as a selfish guest who for her own reasons has it out for Jane, but one gets the idea that Hess and Hale weren't entirely sure what to do with her and thus don't utilize the actress' talents as well as they potentially could have.

Austenland isn't terrible - I'd be remiss if I claimed as much. It just isn't very good, the whole film a blandly sophomoric enterprise, a good idea that's been poorly realized. The movie is a sitcom masquerading as a feature, and while for some that will be just fine, I'm not one of those who typically finds such entertainments worthwhile.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

A Broadway lion in Seattle - There's nothing secondhand about Gregg Edelman
------------------------------
Not feeling the 'same love' - Openly Gay rapper accuses Macklemore of plagiarismfootsteps
------------------------------
Bumbershoot 2013: SGN's guide to Seattle's signature festival, now in its 43rd year
------------------------------
Ricky Martin: I was a bully - Gay pop star opens up about his homophobic childhood
------------------------------
Madonna: Coming soon to your living room - MDNA tour DVD/Blu-ray to be released Sept. 10
------------------------------
Not feeling the 'same love' - Openly Gay rapper accuses Macklemore of plagiarism
------------------------------
A taste of the East out West - Belltown's Black Bamboo fills a delicious downtown niche
------------------------------
Serving it up family style - Eating My Feelings looks at domestic dysfunction from a unique Gay perspective
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Kiki with D: Trampin'
------------------------------
Read a book instead: Vapid Austenland wastes an inspired premise
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis snag two VMAs
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2012

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News