It's already been made into a classic 1940 movie and a handful of miniseries and has gone Bollywood in the upcoming "Bride and Prejudice". Now Jane Austen's enduring comedy of manners has been given a Mormon makeover (albeit one with "Legally Blonde" extensions) in a colorful but clunky modern-day adaptation by Scottish native Andrew Black.
Originally called "Pride & Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy," the Utah-based edition has clearly looked to "Clueless", Amy Heckerling
's cleverly updated take on Austen's "Emma", for inspiration, but awkward comic timing and uneven performances spoil the desired effect.
Distributed by Salt Lake City-based Excel Entertainment, which made its name with its successful 2000 release of the more serious Mormon-themed "God's Army", the PG-rated picture is unlikely to draw much attention outside the LDS arena.
To its credit, the picture has a winning Elizabeth Bennet
in Kam Heskin
, who has been brought up to date as a college student and aspiring novelist trying to focus her priorities in a houseful of ditzy roommates.
Distraction arrives in the forms of rogue charmer Jack Wickham (Henry Maguire
) and the unpleasantly Frank Will
Darcy (Orlando Seale
), and young Elizabeth ultimately learns a thing or two about judging a book by its cover.
Despite sparkling work by Heskin, Seale and Hubbel Palmer
as the pompous Collins, the picture gets flattened by Black's efforts to pile on every tired romantic comedy convention.
Even a former "American Idol" finalist gets tossed into the eager-to-please mix, with Carmen Rasmusen
playing a part in the film as well as performing her dance single, "Be With You".