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  The Jane Austen Book Club

Starring: Maria Bello, Jimmy Smits, Emily Blunt, Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman

Directed by: Robin Swicord

Produced by: John Calley, Julie Lynn, Diana Napper

Written by: Robin Swicord

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics


     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.


-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 10.6.2007

Screened on: 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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