Rated: PG-13

        I know that over the course of the reviews that I’ve done that I’ve been rather harsh on the romantic comedy genre. What I didn’t realize is exactly how many romantic comedies I watch. I guess my problem doesn’t exactly lie with the genre itself, but rather with how the movie in question portrays its characters and their reality. For example,with movies like Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman and The Wedding Planner you already know, for the most part, what’s going to happen. Man and woman meet. Man and woman can’t be together for some reason (insert turmoil of choice here). Man and woman are together by the end of the movie in a sort of fairy tale ending. As far as this genre goes I like a little more reality and mystery in my movies. I don’t want to know how a movie’s going to end until I see it and I don’t like to be told when to laugh. It’s also kind of fun when Prince Charming doesn’t get his princess. I think that movies like The Break Up, 50 First Dates and There’s Something About Mary do it right, as does Austenland.

                Austenland follows a girl named Jane (go figure!) who is entirely too obsessed with Jane Austen novels, especially Pride and Prejudice. After saving her money for years she decides to take a trip to Austenland, a Jane Austen theme park in England. She also vows that by the end of the trip she will be engaged. Upon arrival she is greeted with two other woman taking part in the immersive experience. With actors playing the parts of all of the other Austen characters, the lines between what’s reality and what’s fantasy quickly and comically become blurred.

                Austenland is one of those movies that’s not afraid to make fun of itself, while at the same time breathing new life into what can, at times, be a stuffy and stale genre. Keri Russell plays Jane so convincingly that you’d expect to find her home covered in Austen memorabilia. Jane Seymour plays such a wonderful villainess that you wonder why she hasn’t been cast as one more often. And then there’s the performance of Jennifer Coolidge as Miss Elizabeth Charming. Certainly anything with Coolidge in it is worth watching, and Austenland is no different. She’s the key to what makes this movie so funny. Her comedic timing and one liners are spot on and she delivers them as no one else could. Without her I’m not sure this movie would be worth seeing. That said, whether you’re a Jane Austen fan or not this movie deserves some appreciation.

                Austenland is rated PG-13 and stars Keri Russell, Bret Mackenzie, JJ Feild, Jennifer Coolidge and Jane Seymour. It is now out on Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Download.