The unexpected treats are often the best ones. And so when I realized that there weren’t any movies out right now that I wanted to see and hadn’t, I took a chance on a quirky romantic comedy called Austenland.
Keri Russell plays a woman who’s unlucky in love, as they say, and obsessed with Jane Austen. She decided to go to Austenland, a sort of historical role-playing experience set at a mock-up of the house where Pride and Prejudice unfolds. There, a complicated web of relationships (of course) unfolds much in the way an Austen novel might.
Surprisingly enough, it works. There are some truly funny moments in the movie, thanks in large part to the oddball comedy provided by Jennifer Coolidge’s Miss Charming. And the intricate maze of love and hate keeps the viewer guessing as to which man will ultimately win over Russell’s character, even if the final “twist” is less surprising than it should be. This is not precisely a formulaic romantic comedy, even if the ultimate theme fits neatly within the genre.
By harkening back to a bygone era with its plot, Austenland also harkens back to what movies used to do: entertain and amuse. There’s not a lot of there there, but it’s a pleasant way to spend an evening at the movies.