The Jane Austen Book Club is as annoyingly estrogen-injected
as chick-flicks come, so cutesy and eager to cater to a
menopausal audience that writer/director Robin Swicord’s
targeted approach often becomes unbearable. Swicord throws just
about every story-gimmick that could easily affect women eager
to be easily affected by a movie into the script: a lesbian
daughter, a cheating husband, a drug-addicted mother, a dead
dog, a loyal friend. Frankly, everything about The Jane
Austen Book Club sounds like it came straight off of the
Lifetime Channel when described in print. The sole feature that
makes the movie tolerable is its cast, which is comprised of
wonderfully talented performers who breathe life into the
stereotypical material. From Maria Bello to Kathy Baker to Emily
Blunt to Hugh Dancy (whose hunky male sidekick Grigg is about
the only “quirk” in the movie that actually charms), the actors
and actresses at work here are absolutely phenomenal given the
two-dimensional characters and plot that they have to work with.
In fact, the authentic feel of their efforts will often con
viewers into believing that the movie is a realistic,
introspective look at the lives of women in contemporary
American society. That is, until one of Swicord’s many
eye-rolling plot-developments or cheesy lines of dialogue enters
the picture, at which point said viewer will remember the
entirely mediocre nature of this film. Depending on how one
looks at it, The Jane Austen Book Club can either be
viewed as a bland movie made involving by the abilities of a
terrific cast or a condemnable misuse of these abilities.
10.4.2007 at the Edwards San Marcos 18 in San Marcos, CA.
The Jane Austen Book Club is rated
PG-13 and runs 106 minutes.
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