Saturday, February 5, 2011

Girls Night Out! Chick Flicks - See Jane Date (2003); Novel by Melissa Senate


First Date

I’ve been wanting to add a new feature to my blog for some time based on all the Chick Flick movies that have become blockbusters and even those that may have been not-so-liked by film experts and movie-goers. These movies are the types that, much like their paperback counterparts, hold a special place on my shelf, often making my heart melt, causing an eruption of giggles amongst girlfriends and tantalizing the senses with the cutest of eye-candy. In my recent research on “chick flicks”, I have become aware of the vast number of movie bloggers out there and to respect this enormity and the unique, effortful and intricate details that comprise their blogs, I’ve decided that this won’t be a weekly feature but more of an “every-so-often” feature of sorts. In no way do I intend to presume that my reviews are the end all, be all of chick flick information but merely they are the sole representation of my opinions and interests. In this random series of features, I am to highlight those “chick flicks” that I have viewed in their entirety, especially those that started off as novels by some of my favorite authors. So tonight (and, really, what better night than a Weekend Night?) in hopefully what will be the first of many, I am excited to announce a new feature at Lip Gloss and Literature: Girls Night Out! Chick Flicks.

Fitting with the theme of firsts, my first pick for Girls Night Out! Chick Flicks was the very first novel written by Melissa Senate and also the first book ever published by the late “chick lit only” publishing house, Red Dress Ink. See Jane Date published in 2001 quickly became a hit with female readers across the nation. It’s the story about a career-minded woman in New York who is starting to wonder if she will ever find her one true love or at very least someone she would care to go on a second date with. When her younger and more bubbly cousin, Dana, announces her engagement and upcoming wedding at the prestigious Plaza hotel, Jane is devastated she can’t’ even secure a “plus one” on the invitation. To make matters worse, she gets a rather unwelcome blast from the past at work, when former high school-rival-turned-D-List actress-wannabe, (G)Natasha Nutley is assigned under Jane’s guidance as she writes her autobiography about her alleged (and very illicit) affair with “The Actor”. Determined not to let “The Gnat”, Natasha, make Jane feel inferior as an adult, Jane makes up a “serious, live-in boyfriend”, figuring Natasha would never meet “him” anyways; that is until Dana catches Jane and Natasha at a business lunch, and insists that Natasha must come to her wedding, after all Natasha was Dana’s favorite babysitter as a child (not to mention the added gossip and glam it will add to Dana’s wedding party). Natasha eagerly accepts with the excitement of not only seeing little Dana get married but with the added hope of catching a glimpse and meeting Jane’s “boyfriend”. When it appears that everything that could go wrong, can only get worse, Jane’s friends and office mates begin setting her up on a series of blind dates with the hope of meeting someone at least eligible to make the second date at Dana’s wedding. It’s a cute, well articulated novel which has all the elements that today, have come to be considered the “classic” devices and caricatures of chick lit. It came as no surprise when two years later, in 2003, See Jane Date became a made-for-TV movie starring hit TV actress of the time, Charisma Carpenter of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame.

See Jane Date the movie* deviated from its paperback counterpart, as movies so often do to allow for the appropriate timing and organization of scenes, story lines and settings, but unfortunately, in this case, I feel like it really took away from the delivery of the movie, especially in a case like this where the story was altered and, in my opinion, too many scenes landed on the “cutting room floor”. The result was a short, fast-paced movie with too quickly explained scenarios and wide gaps in character development and relationships.  I would have to agree with the famously quoted line, “Don’t judge a book by its movie” (JD Egan), as the movie did not hold a candle to the novel itself and was considered by many to be a “flop”. For an ABC Family Movie, especially, it did however, have its fair share of famous actors and actress, among those included: Charisma Carpenter as Jane, Holly Marie Combs, of Charmed, Antonio Sabato Jr, of Calvin Klein ads and day time soap opera hits and finally, Fox TV’s 15-minute wonder Joe Millionaire, himself, Evan Marriott. I think more often than not, a hit cast not only won't guarantee a hit movie but exactly the opposite happens: all the assumed "greatness" of the movie that may have been riding on the stars' purported fame ends of making for less time put into the development of plot and characters. For example, I didn't feel like "the great divide" between Jane and "The Gnat" Natasha was apparent in the movie and if anything, I felt like Natasha was much nicer than the paperback character and even looked up to Jane as a role model for support and guidance from the very beginning of their interactions in the movie. This was in stark contrast to the book in which Natasha did not reveal her true personality or any hint of weakness until much later in the story line.
Nonetheless, I would never say I “hated” the movie because I did really enjoy the book and the movie held up to the cutesy expectations I had for a made-for-tv chick flick with its romantic qualities and sappy ( I mean, happy) ending. Ok, ok, I would definitely not recommend it, but I would not discount it either for anyone who wants to see it after reading the bookJ You can decide for yourself. You may not be able to see it on TV again but it’s available on Amazon for a mere $4.99 (plus shipping). If you do watch it (or saw it on its world premiere night on ABC), please come back and let me know what you thought about it.

My Chick Flick Rating: 2 Stars.

For other great chick flick movies and the latest in chick flick news and rumours, visit the Chicklit Club’s Screen Scene feature. Other great chick flick blogs around the web:
http://justchickflicks.com

*Big thanks to Stacy for leeting me borrow her copy of See Jane Date so that I could watch it after finishing the book. Thanks again! See you on Goodreads!!

5 comments:

  1. Hey. I'm following your blog! I review books too. But i dont read chicklit so I am looking for inspiration to add variety to my reading list. I'll keep checking for good recommendations!

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  2. Oh! I like this section of yours!!
    LOL
    I actually liked this movie, mostly because I've read Melissa Senate's books before, and I found them a bit slow, so I liked how the movie was faster.

    :D I think part of why I liked it was because I like Charisma Carpenter form her days as Cordelia.

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  3. I'm so glad you like the section! Hopefully there will be many more chick flick posts to coome.

    I liked the movie...I just didn't love it, but i'm glad you did and that you shared with us. Love second opinions!!

    Thanks for following:)

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  4. I remember this movie! I like Melissa Senate. While I haven't read this one I did read The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate and I loved it. I also reallly want to read The Love Goddess' Cooking School :)

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  5. Neat feature!

    I actually liked this movie better than the book. I loved Melissa Senate's later books a lot more than See Jane Date, though. The Solomon Sisters Wise Up was my favorite of hers.

    Looking forward to more of these reviews!

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