If you think you know how this will end, you’re right. There’s no real surprises here, except for how abruptly Jane makes her final decision. The main problem is that she may wind up with who she really should, but Russell has absolutely no chemistry with him. The one she does click with is who we’re expected to root against which shows how much charisma McKenzie has. While on Flight of the Conchords he may have played a far more insecure character, here he steals the whole movie no matter how much Coolidge tries. Director Hess has absolutely no idea how to reign her in and just lets her do her thing. Coolidge plays the ugly American with complete glee, spouting phrases like, “Tallyho,” “God save the Queen,” “The British are coming, the British are coming,” and even makes her introduction at the airport thanking Jane for being American because she “can’t understand what the natives are saying.”
There’s lots of buzz surrounding Austenland and the women in the audience sure seemed to be eating it up. I even overheard a couple while waiting in line for something else at a public screening in Salt Lake who described it as “awesome.” Not quite. While it’s not the best rom-com you’re likely to see anytime soon, it’s certainly not something any guy will hate himself for getting dragged to.
In the end, it does exactly what it sets out to do, which is to give the girls some trials and tribulations of unlucky-in-love Jane while setting their hearts aflutter with the unsurprising outcome. There’s only one scene where Jerusha gets down to her quirky business, and it’s the funniest scene in the whole movie. Let’s just say it involves the enactment of a horrible play written by Wattlesbrook. So go ahead and see it when it’s released, at least you won’t hate yourself the next morning.
Photos courtesy Sony Pictures Classics