Wednesday, November 18, 2009

“The Jane Austen Book Club” – Am I dead?

It’s been about two months and ten movies since I started writing reviews. All of those movies were either action or drama films, so I was probably losing the female portion of my readers, if I ever had any. So, here’s one for the ladies. After all, I am married, so I was bound to watch some romantic comedies or straight up chick flicks. On this occasion, it was “The Jane Austen Book Club.”

I know what you are thinking…Whoopah! For those of you who don’t watch “Friends,” that’s the sound of being whipped. Well, think whatever you want because it doesn’t matter. Married guys know what I’m talking about and single guys should, if they have ever been on a date in their lives. You will watch these movies and might even find yourselves enjoying one or more.

Unfortunately, this won’t be one of them. Not even the ladies will enjoy this film, even if they are die hard Jane Austen fans. The biggest problem with this movie is that the filmmakers relied heavily on the audience having a deep knowledge of Jane Austen’s books. Having recently seen “Across the Universe” and not having an intimate knowledge of Beatles’ song lyrics, I was already bracing myself for inevitably missing all the clever references in this movie to Jane Austen. Luckily, I think they forgot to put them into the story.

The movie is about six people who form a book club and discuss Jane Austen books. They each choose one book and meet once a month to discuss one book at a time. The group consists of a mother and daughter, a single woman who breeds dogs, an older lady who seems to have no life at all, a French teacher that the old lady brought in because she felt sorry for her, and a guy that the dog breeder met at a hotel. In between meetings, we see how their lives are unfolding. Let’s take a peek, shall we?

Mother, Sylvia. Her husband of twenty years (Jimmy Smits) is cheating on her and leaves her. She is very sad for most of the movie.

Daughter, Allegra. Yes, Allegra. I dunno. She is a Lesbian who loves extreme sports, but always gets severely injured when she attempts them.

Dog Breeder, Jocelyn. She introduced Sylvia to her husband (after she dated him). She spends all of her love on her dogs and spends most of the movie trying to hook Sylvia up with the guy she met at the hotel (see below).

Old Lady, Bernadette. Like I said, she has no story. She likes to talk a lot and knit. She meets the French teacher (see below) and invites her to join the club after hearing she is having trouble with her husband.

French Teacher, Prudie. Her husband is a stereotypical American male. He loves sports and cars and ignores his hot wife. Prudie gets pissed at him when he cancels their trip to Paris to go to a Spurs basketball game. It’s no wonder she is lusting after her 27 year-old high school student (seriously).

Guy, Grigg. Yes, Grigg. He meets Jocelyn at a hotel while he is attending a Sci-Fi convention. He spends the rest of the movie hitting on her, but is still forced to read the Austen books.

That’s the movie. As you can tell, this movie wasn’t exactly deep or thought provoking. The writers stupidly assumed that the audience had read all of these books before watching the movie. I wonder if anyone told them that their assumed audience would consist of eighteen people who may or may not be dead. I’ve never met anyone who has read three of these books, not that I would even ask that question, let alone all of them. They don’t even force school children to read all of these books. Instead of making the stories of the books obvious and connecting them to the characters, they jumbled everything and spent the entire film jumping between all of the characters. What was the point of this? We know that the movie had to have a happy ending, so they should have focused on recreating the stories. And maybe they did. If that’s the case, it was so subtle and mixed up that everyone missed it.

If you are forced to watch this movie, eat as much food as you can so you pass out from food-coma. Then you won’t have to endure two lesbians shaving each other’s legs (every guy’s fantasy when it comes to lesbians), Jimmy Smits playing a pitiful, fat, tool of a man, or wondering what the hell any of those Jane Austen books were actually about. Oh, and you also won’t have to wonder why anyone would name their kid Allegra.

Rating: Ask for all of your money back because you were ripped off. And, if you saw this on a date, it’s worth two action movies to the guy (as payback for past dates, or a down payment on future dates).

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