Guys & Prejudice

The New York Post treats Jane Austen like Chuck Palahniuk.

Published November 11, 2005 8:25PM (EST)

Sometimes reading the New York Post's movie critic Kyle Smith is painful. It hurts because every word drips with Smith's deeply male, and sometimes horrifyingly sexist, sensibility. But it hurts more because the guy can be pretty hilarious. It was the same combination that made his 2004 novel "Love Monkey" addictive and disturbing.

But I snarfed my coffee this morning while reading his excellent -- three stars! -- review of the new adaptation of "Pride & Prejudice" that was headlined "The Ultimate Guy Movie. No, Really."

"Listen up, guys, have I got a flick for you," begins Smith. "It's all about money, sex and slammin' babes in saucy-wench get-ups, and it goes down in the same country that gave us Led Zeppelin and the Clash. This weekend ... If you're lucky, you can con your girlfriend into seeing 'Pride & Prejudice.'"

Smith's plot synopsis introduces readers to the Bennet family of "four raging hotties ... looking for action in the randy years of the Regency." The two sisters "most worthy of knocking boots with," he alleges, are Jane and Elizabeth, played respectively by Rosamund Pike and Keira Knightley, who, Smith reminds guys, was "No. 53 on Maxim's Hot 100 List this year, down from No. 18 last year -- she's 20 years old, guys, catch her before she wrinkles up." Ack!

Smith describes costar Donald Sutherland as "the stoned college prof from 'Animal House'" and Judi Dench as "M herself," a reference to her role in James Bond movies. "And does she ever go yard in the few minutes she gets to swing the bat," Smith writes admiringly of the 70-year-old British thespian's cameo Austen performance.

Delicately explaining that the Bennet sisters are "looking to get hooked up in the meat markets of the country-party scene," Smith soon describes their love interests: "goofy redhead Bingley" and "hard guy Darcy," two guys whose "game is gold, baby. They're like Wedding Crashers who don't have to do the hora."

The sexual chemistry between the leads is so intense, writes Smith, that "you and all the other dudes crammed into the theater will be screaming, 'Get a room!'"

Smith does concede that there are some characters with questionable testosterone levels, like "a ponytailed metrosexual named Wickham who says things like, 'I have very good taste in ribbons.' But the director jukes and spins his way through it all as righteously as LaDainian Tomlinson vs. the Jets' linebackers."

Whatever, dude!

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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