Movie review: Rom-com “Austenland” misplays rom, com

By Columbus Alive
From the September 12, 2013 edition

Those looking for an actual rom-com fix this weekend will find more to like in “Austenland.”

Keri Russell plays Jane Hayes, a Jane Austen-obsessed woman who pays a large sum of money to attend a getaway on the English countryside that promises “the world’s only immersive Austen experience.”

Actors portray Austen-era noblesmen, feeding the starved egos of attendees who get a little too caught up in the affair, particularly a brash American played by Jennifer Coolidge.

Russell is effortlessly charming. It’s a shame the movie she’s in is less so.

Director Jerusha Hess seems to be striving for an upbeat “Clueless” vibe here, but the comedy falls way flat, especially a grating and one-note performance from Coolidge.

The eventual love triangle doesn’t fare much better. Austen-ites might find a little pride in it. Maybe I’m just prejudice against low-brow chick flicks.