Today I saw Austenland, starring Keri Russell and Bret McKenzie.
Jane (Russell) is a single American girl, obsessed with the world of Jane Austen books. She has a cardboard cutout of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy next to her couch, boasts an Austen-themed bedroom and "takes tea" a lot more than normal Americans would.
Her boyfriends scoff at her distraction; her friends just want it to come to an end. She can't get enough of the culture, so she spends her life savings on a trip to Austenland, a theme park dedicated to immersing oneself into the world the author so famously created.
Upon arrival, Jane isn't as dazzled as she thought she'd be—because she only booked the basic experience, she sleeps in the servants quarters and wears gowns that aren't as extravagant as those of higher paying guests.
Becoming claustrophobic to the clutches of the dominant owner of the place, she soon seeks solace in her moments away with Martin (McKenzie), the "hired help" that becomes as enamored with her as she does with him. Or does he?
Because the actors on the land are supposed to offer a romantic experience to each attendee, Jane soon becomes confused about what is real and what isn't. The glamour of behaving like someone in a novel becomes less and less appealing as true feelings fight their way to the surface.
Sure, there are several cheesy moments throughout the film with flamboyant supporting characters and cleavage jokes, but at the end of it all, we're all there to see an Austen-esque ending, and that's exactly what we get.
Russell's charms carry the film without effort and if you're willing to hang on for the whole ride, you'll probably leave smiling.