It seems the purveyors of romantic comedies will not let Jane Austen alone until they torture every last cent out of her life's work. 1995's Clueless was the most original and effective translation of one of Austen's books (in this case, Emma) to a contemporary context, and still remains something of a gold standard, overshadowing the more traditional adaptation, Emma, which was released the following year. Throughout The Jane Austen Book Club, I was bothered by the familiarity of the story, the retelling of which, in the form of pleasant but forgettable romantic comedies, threatens to render this most transcendent literature into something banal, another formula into which to insert whatever are the moment's most marketable variables. Yes, we've seen it all before, and the film's attempts at subverting stereotypes (the hot lesbian daughter, the sweet, vulnerable men) are almost comically earnest, but the movie still succeeds in conveying a certain frictionless charm. Emily Blunt delivers a powerful performance as a baggage-laden French teacher with a husband who doesn't understand her, and the scenes involving her insane, repulsive mother are genuinely disturbing. Hugh Dancy plays Grigg, the pawn in Jocelyn's (Maria Bello) scheme to get her best friend Sylvia (Amy Brenneman) a new man, after Sylvia was cheated on and dumped by her husband (portrayed by a thick, meaty, depressingly middle-aged Jimmy Smits). Grigg is the most likeable character in the film, and his outsider's point of view (he's a science fiction aficionado and all-around dork) prevents the film from getting too self-congratulatory with the Jane Austen stuff. One knows what they're getting into with romantic comedies, and this one achieves its mildly life-affirming purpose, though it will just as easily fade into the ether to join all the other mediocre variations on the theme of Jane Austen's writing.