Love triumphs in entertaining 'The Jane Austen Book Club'
"The Jane Austen Book Club" is so chick flick, you'll be sitting in a puddle of sense and sensibility before the movie ends. For the uninitiated, that phrase, "Sense and Sensibility," is the title of one of Jane Austen's six novels.
The film overflows with Austen references. To the uninitiated and to Austen lovers not in the mood for trying to keep up, the film delivers easy pleasures. The acting is solidly engaging. The relationships, all kinds of relationships, unfold like a neatly enlightened chemistry workshop.
To those who would bristle to hear some man declare this film "so chick flick," please. Five intelligent, attractive women form an "all Jane Austen, all the time" discussion group. One is six-times divorced. One never married. One is stuck with a clueless husband. One is victimized by her husband's midlife crisis, plus there's the wife's daughter, who happens to be a lesbian.
Ah, but there are six Jane Austen novels. The group needs a sixth. Stir in one intelligent, attractive man who is as caring and sensitive as any of the women. Since he is a man, however, he has to pass muster, while ironically he is being played for romantic results.
Not chick flick enough? The husband in his midlife crisis is a pretty sensitive guy, and the clueless husband has reserves of sensitivity he doesn't know about. As if this does not add up to enough chirpy angst, the naughtiest chemistry provides the film's chickiest one-liner: "He's the spoon; I'm the bowl of ice cream." You have to see the film to taste that one-liner in context.
Love triumphs every which way. That's hardly a spoiler. This entertaining film isn't really about surprises.