Chick flicks come in all varieties however; “Austenland” encompasses not only the desires of women (to find a mate who is romantic, respectful, yet still dashing) but those yearning for fantasy as well. Who would not want to step into their favorite novel, or even film, become part of that world and in turn find love and happiness?
“Austenland” based on the novel by Shannon Hale, stars Keri Russell as Jane Hayes a woman obsessed with Jane Austen, to the point where none of her relationships have worked and at the age of thirty is so desperate she spends her life savings on vacation to Austenland, a place where you can live as if you are in a Jane Austen novel.
Along the way she meets Miss Charming, Jennifer Coolige. Ms. Coolidge, who is always fun to watch, is as usual bawdy and fun in this romantic comedy and the screen seems to light up every time she is in a scene.
The big question of who Jane will end up with, she is at first involved with the Grounds Keeper, (Martin, played by Bret McKenzie) and then by Mr. Nobley, J.J. Feild, is one which is dallied with till the very end of the movie. How this all comes about is extremely manipulative. We, the audience are not let in on the big secret till the last few minutes of the film.
While all of this may seem contrived, romance is the key to this drama, along with many belly laughs, which make up for some lags in between where the film does drag. Yet, all of the characters (even down to some of the lesser ones) have their moments, which make this film while a romance, an ensemble piece as well.
The men and women in Austenland live in this fantasy, creating characters to the point where the lines of realty are blurred. Jane, at the end is unsure if Nobley really cares for her, or if it is just part of his role. Who can blame her?
While “Austenland” has much in the way of crude and silly humor (even the statues in the gardens have flowers over their genitals) it never crosses the line of being unbearably lewd. This is a treat which has just enough sugar and just enough spice to please anyone hungering for a good romantic farce.