Directed By: Jerusha Hess

Starring: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Jennifer Coolidge, Bret McKenzie, Georgia King, James Callis, Jane Seymour, and Ricky Whittle

I'm not a casual fan or a devoted aficionado of beloved novelist Jane Austen, nor do I aspire to be.  With this in mind, I wasn't overly enthused with the prospect of checking out indie romantic comedy Austenland, a film entrenched in Austen fandom.  It should come as no shock that I have no love lost for Elizabeth Bennet or her romantic fantasy Mr. Darcy.  For that matter, you'd be hard-pressed to find any guy who is.  All that being said, this doesn't mean I'm ill-suited to review Austenland.  It just means I'll bring a different perspective and won't be enamored by life-size Mr. Darcy cut-outs or an elaborate Austen-themed vacation resort.

Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is a woman obsessed with Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice.  She's so enchanted by Mr. Darcy and the other characters that she forgets to show the actual men in her life any love.  She ends up a lonely, unwed thirtysomething.  One day, Jane stumbles upon an Austen-themed vacation resort just outside London and decides to spend her life savings on the ultimate Austen fan experience there.  On her trip to the resort, Jane arrives at London Heathrow in a nineteenth century costume and meets a fellow Austen fan who goes by the name Elizabeth Charming (Jennifer Coolidge).  They proceed to take a car to the resort.  There's just one problem.  Resort manager Mrs. Wattlesbrook (Jane Seymour) informs the newly dubbed "Jane Erstwhile" that she has paid for the basic package, while Miss Charming and Lady Amelia Heartwright (Georgia King) have purchased the platinum elite package.  Her happy ending at the resort won't quite be the same as theirs.

Austenland is a film that doesn't take itself too seriously.  When it comes down to it, this movie is about the Jane Austen version of Graceland.  If it's not apparent by the time Keri Russell breaks out performing Nelly's "Hot in Herre", I'm sure the nineteenth century costumes, the fake British accents, and a wild and sex-crazed Jennifer Coolidge will all tell you how silly this movie is.  At times it's incredibly sappy.  At times, it's ridiculously low-brow.  Most times, however, Austenland is consistently amusing.  You can thank Jennifer Coolidge for the vast majority of the film's humor.  Thanks to her thoroughly entertaining performance, Austenland is a fun, lighthearted romantic comedy. 

The humor is certainly important here in Austenland, but love is also in the atmosphere.  Though not an enchanting romance that will sweep you off your feet, the film offers a decent love story.  We have a love triangle between Keri Russell's Jane Erstwhile, JJ Feild's Henry Nobley, and Bret McKenzie's Martin where reality and fantasy are intertwined.  Both Feild and McKenzie have solid romantic chemistry with Russell in this interesting love triangle.  In the film, Nobley is an actor paid to engage Miss Erstwhile, while Martin takes on the more menial tasks of taking care of the horses and maintaining the grounds of the resort.  For Miss Erstwhile, it seems fairly clear who's the fantasy and who's the real one, but director Jerusha Hess gradually blurs the lines of reality and fantasy in this intriguing love triangle.

Austenland is a decent flick that will keep the laughs coming even at its most ridiculous moments.  This romantic comedy is a fun, oddball addition to the weekend that is something that will have lots of appeal to many female moviegoers.  Austenland gets a 0.06% rating.  Have a couple of glasses of Albariño with this one.