12 Men of Christmas

I ordered this film on Netflix because I’ve been a fan of Kristin Chenoweth since her days as Glinda in Wicked. It wasn’t long, however, before I got a familiar feeling. EJ Baxter (Elizabeth Bennet) has taken a job far away from home. She is immediately befriended by a woman, Jan Lucas (Jane and Charlotte), with whom she’ll be working, and who seems to be trying to flirt with an equally nice, shy guy, Eric (Bingley). That guy has a friend whom everyone assumes to be arrogant, but who, of course, is quite handsome and actually, the most generous and principled guy in town. EJ and Will (how did I not catch the name when he first appeared?) spar almost immediately. Will has an ex-friend, Jason (Wickham), who tells EJ, whom he sort of dates, that Will made sure he didn’t get a good job. We sense this guy is no good but can’t figure out why. Meanwhile, Will, for reasons we don’t understand, discourages Eric from asking Jan out.

At that point, I did a quick google search to see if my fellow Janeites knew about the movie, and I was not surprised to learn that many do. Why I had not heard of it in the Jane Austen context I cannot say.

Though I was bothered that EJ is so mean to Will (even snarkily telling him, when he refuses to participate in her calendar, “You’re the one I threw away”), this was a fun one, with delights only this exact retelling could manage (such as  Jason taking EJ/Glinda to “The Wizard of Oz” and their discussing the witch. HA).

I had fun putting the pieces together. SPOIL ALERT: The abseiling party Jason skips is the Netherfield Ball! The big dance with Darcy becomes abseiling with Will. In a critical moment outside, Will rescues her, not from Collins, but from the mountain, and she looks at him differently. A botched attempt (the first proposal) to express his feelings—which he has repressed without success—angers her, however, and it seems as though anger will be their dominant emotion again.

But when her calendar—the primary strategy she’s developed to raise money for the much-needed Search and Rescue team—falls short by one man, Will appears to save the day. He’s shirtless, which can’t hurt nurture something resembling affection in the softening EJ.

This movie is corny—and a lot of fun anyway.

Published in: on February 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Hi – What a fascinating post – I loved reading it! But it might help if I provide a little insight. This movie is based loosely on my novel, Decent Exposure. I have to say that while I love Jane Austen, I in no way used P&P as the basis for the book. EJ is called EJ because she is based on the character of Emma. Will is called Will because it was a rugged name I found in a list of England rugby players. The abseiling scene is taken directly from my book and does indeed provide a turning point, albeit I didn’t have P&P in mind when I wrote it. That scene is also in there because the book is set in the Lake District where I have a holiday home. Mountain Rescue Teams often do abseiling training and I went on one session. The screenwriter changed many things when he produced the movie so maybe they are his P&P refs… glad you had fun watching it and maybe you might enjoy Decent Exposure even though it is very different from the movie.

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