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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 15.15%
Average: 30.3%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 9.09%

1 review, 27 user ratings

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Pride and Prejudice (2003)
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by EricDSnider

"Cute and well-produced, but the timing and pace are tooooo sloooow."
3 stars

It is a bold endeavor for a first-time filmmaker to take a beloved story like Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and set it in the 21st century, but Andrew Black has done it and has done OK with it.

Then again, the transition from 19th-century marriage-minded women to modern-day Brigham Young University co-eds wasn't really such a leap. And that, I suppose, is at least one of the jokes inherent to this cute, well-produced film that suffers only in its slow pace and unfortunate editing.

Our heroine is Elizabeth Bennet (Kam Heskin), a 26-year-old BYU student with an independent mind and only a casual interest in getting married. She's some sort of freak, in other words, and the guys can't figure her out. One fellow, Jack Wickham (Henry Maguire), has proposed a number of times, but she dismisses him and remains his friend, causing what appears to be an easy-going level of frustration for him.

Her roommates are a mixed bunch. Sisters Lydia and Kate (the very amusing duo of Kelly Stables and Nicole Hamilton) calibrate their every move to maximize man-catching potential, Mary (Rainy Kerwin) is a hopeless nerd, and perhaps even insane, and Jane (Lucila Solá), from Argentina, has just landed the wealthy, cute and earnest Charles Bingley (Ben Gourley).

Charles' English friend Darcy (Orlando Seale), visiting from his current home in California, has a run-in with Elizabeth but soon finds himself smitten with her intelligence, a trait he finds lacking in many of her contemporaries. Elizabeth is indifferent, and Charles' sister Caroline (Kara Holden), a cold, devious golddigger, wants Darcy for herself.

And thus the romantic comedy machine is set in motion, with characters bound to fall in love, fall apart and fall back together again. Director Andrew Black, whose short film "The Snell Show" took top prizes at Slamdance this year, displays more talent than many new directors do, particularly at corralling so many characters into a single coherent story. The script, by Anne K. Black, Jason Faller and Katherine Swigert, is suitably light-hearted, and has a few good one-liners to its credit.

The film's trouble is in its editing, also done by a rookie, Alexander Vance. There's a very slow energy to the film, and it's because of how the shots are assembled. There are often small pauses between one character's line of dialogue and the other character's response. Conversations come across as protracted, and it's definitely the editing: When two characters speak to each other within the same shot, without cutting from one to the other, the pauses aren't there and the pace seems normal.

There's also the matter of the montage scenes, of which there are far, far too many. When the film is nearly over, literally four or five lines of dialogue to go, what do we get? A montage of England to establish that the concluding scene will take place there. Wholly unnecessary, and even more aggravating given how many useless montages have already been shown. (The driving-to-Vegas one springs readily to mind.)

I can't overstate the problem. With tighter editing, this would be a B or B+ film, easily. The energy would be higher and the jokes would seem funnier. So many scenes wouldn't feel like cold, stilted readings, they way they do now.

It's a shame, because some of the performances are delightful indeed. Kam Heskin is a worthy heroine as Elizabeth and she carries the movie well. Her post-breakup ice cream binge-eating sequence with Lucila Solá's Jane is especially funny. I also liked Hubbel Palmer as Collins, a fantastically dorky newly returned missionary whose advances are not welcomed by anyone. Remember the similar character, DeVerl, in "The Singles Ward"? Palmer actually gets it right here, succeeding at being both funny and believable.

"American Idol" castaway Carmen Rasmusen has a cameo, but it's so dumb I'm going to pretend it didn't happen.

If you're interested, though "Pride & Prejudice" taglines itself "a latter-day comedy," its connection with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints barely goes any further than that. There's a scene set in a Mormon sacrament meeting, and it's assumed all of the characters are LDS; one of them is seen reading the Book of Mormon in one of the aforementioned numerous montages. References to doctrine are almost non-existent. In other words, the film is accessible to one and all, with no footnotes or explanations necessary. And if it were a little better assembled, it would be enjoyable to one and all, too.

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originally posted: 12/04/03 16:57:53
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User Comments

9/04/17 Wooza2 The WORST movie adaptation of Austen's book. Don't waste your time. 1 stars
10/28/13 Katie Scarlet Costing $2 new, I got my money's worth for this silly, cute, fun, quick dose of P&P. 3 stars
3/16/08 Pamela White cute but modern theme falls flat with me 3 stars
6/07/06 Heather Excellent!!! I watch it all the time. I can't get enough!!! 5 stars
12/21/05 Rachel I think the actors could have been a little more..experienced 4 stars
11/07/05 la I loved it! 5 stars
12/26/04 Aisling I loved it, so cute, i thought Kam Heskin and Orlando Seale did a wonderful job! 5 stars
9/28/04 Bethany This version of P&P isn't perfect, but it's fun. 4 stars
8/07/04 William H. Young A good updating of Miss Austen's classic; worth a look! 4 stars
3/18/04 laura i love this movie!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/23/04 Tim Just like the book, cant be infront of it for more than 10 mins. 1 stars
2/21/04 Abernathy cute, but limp 3 stars
2/04/04 John Exellent despite weaknesses. Problems with its pace are more the writing than the editing. 5 stars
1/25/04 Jenny Awesome movie, a must-see for any Pride and Prejudice fan!! 5 stars
1/08/04 Kate It was very entertaining, I was pleasantly surprised 4 stars
1/06/04 Kiera Knightly I loved this movie and wish I had been a part of it!! GO SEE IT! 5 stars
12/26/03 L. Brewer A wonderful adaptation of a beloved story to a present-day culture! 5 stars
12/17/03 Cynthia Hougaard Great adaptation! 5 stars
12/16/03 George Yes, the editing and some of the acting really sucked-also too many timesuck shots. 3 stars
12/16/03 lee good quality comedy... would like more of this sort for both teens and adults 4 stars
12/13/03 idolme7 FANTASTIC adaptation 5 stars
12/13/03 Rosa Great Family Film, loved it. Funny, clever, great style. GO SEE IT! 5 stars
12/12/03 Ashley Neuberger Orlando Seale played the most perfect and idealistic Darcy ever. I think I'm in love. 5 stars
12/12/03 Chelsea Sloan This movie was ridiculously cute. The plot was awesome. 5 stars
12/09/03 Fuck Jane Austen If you like this movie you are either 1. a woman 2. gay 1 stars
12/07/03 Deseret Rose So much better than other LDS films - makes me proud to be a Mormon! 5 stars
11/17/03 Nycole Larsen Smart, good-looking adaptation 5 stars
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  05-Dec-2003 (PG)



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