The Jane Austen Book Club review

“Reading Jane Austen is a freakin’ minefield!” groans Maria Bello in a drippy chick-flick about six Sacramentans who find their lives mirroring the English novelist’s fictions. Thus we see her upscale Emma trying to find a match for Hugh Dancy’s bike-riding computer whiz without realising she loves him herself; prim Prudie (Emily Blunt) vanquishing her pride and prejudice to reconnect with her unread hubby; and philanderer Jimmy Smits concluding, after some persuasion, that happiness lies back with mousy spouse Amy Brenneman. If it sounds contrived, it is – a consequence of a script built around a rigidly schematic conceit and bland protagonists whose romantic hassles Jane would have probably wrapped up in a single chapter. Perhaps now they’ll leave the old girl in peace.

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