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Fishing for direction in life, Elizabeth gets the opportunity of showing her dog in a fancy New York dog show. The judge, Donovan Darcy, comes across as aristocratic and rude, and a chain of misunderstandings unfold during the competition, complicating their attraction to one another.

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Unleashing Mr. Darcy movie full length review - So-so at best, could easily have been much better

If you're a Jane Austen fan, you may not like this movie, because it deviates from the book in ways that have no purpose, and make no sense.

For example, the names. 'Donovan' Darcy? Why not 'William' Darcy? Jenna's (not Jane's? We don't have 'Jane' these days? It's the 77th most popular female name in the U.S.) love interest a 'Henry Robson', while there's a token 'Mr. Bingley' character? Why 'Scott' instead of Bennett'? I can see modernizing the names (probably not many 'Fitzwilliams' these days, at least in the U.S.). But what's the point in making them more different than necessary, or switching them to different characters? Why have a 'Mr. Bingley' at all, if he isn't to be Jenna's (Jane's) love interest?

Why Elizabeth's sudden one-scene-to-the-next turnaround about Darcy? In one scene, Darcy cleared up the problem at her school, getting her job back with a raise, for which she said "Thanks, but no thanks", then in the very next scene, she's desperately in love with Darcy, calling him again and again, even moving to New York to be close to him. No transition scene? After all, it's the pivotal point of the whole story, don't we get to see even one scene about it?

Simplifications are necessary in most book adaptations, particularly a long book like Pride and Prejudice. I have no problem with the dog shows, only two sisters, etc. But why change what isn't necessary? Do these producers and directors not 'get it' that Pride and Prejudice has survived for over 200 years for a reason, that it's the most widely read novel in the English language for a reason? Jane Austen was a legendary author, "don't 'fix' what ain't broke".

I love the book 'Pride and Prejudice'. My favorite adaptation is the 1995 BBC production, but I also love the 2005 movie, as well as the 2003 movie and the 2004 'Bride & Prejudice', both modernized adaptations that maintain the heart of the story. So I'm not a Jane Austen purist snob.

I was really looking forward to seeing 'Unleashing Mr. Darcy'. But, unfortunately, this movie is far short of what it could have been, with just a little more thought and care, and without blowing the budget.