I mentioned this in Christina Ricci’s Woman Crush Wednesday, and I thought I’d review it for Snark Week. Well, now it’s in time for Valentine’s Day, but still with a side of snark! All’s Faire in Love (2009) is not a historical costume movie, but it was filmed at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, and everyone here at Frock Flicks HQ has attended and worked many renfaires over the years, so this is our (and especially my) bailiwick. Also, the flick is currently free on Amazon Prime and ain’t nobody gonna pay extra to watch this thing.
The hackneyed plot starts with Kate (Ricci) who ditches a big-business job and runs away to “act” at the renfaire where her British cousin works. At the same time, a big dumb college football player, Will, is forced to work at the renfaire by his Shakespeare professor because the kid skipped class all semester and would flunk out and not be able to play sports. So Kate is at the faire full of excitement, while Will is there with a chip on his shoulder, and really, he’s a jerk who deserves to be taken down a peg or 20.
The cast of the faire requires 110% full-immersion acting, which to me, ye olde renfaire actor, is hilariously fun, yet also unlikely as fuck. The jock character Will is pouty about it and never buys into it, which I guess is supposed to be a ‘fish out of water’ deal, but this nobody actor Owen Benjamin just seems doofusy and not cute. Christina Ricci does a better job of riding the line between loving the ye olde tymey and history and acting shit that her character is into, but also still being a modern chick who can see that the ‘bad guys’ of the story are obnoxious.
Hijinx ensue while the peasant side of the renfaire cast and the nobles side of the renfaire cast tease each other. This culminates, such as it is, in a stage performance that determines who gets to be nobles in the next year’s faire. Oh and there’s a predictable romance between Kate and Will, but it doesn’t end totally predictably, which I appreciated.
What was most cute to me, as a faire person, is seeing the movie’s characters make use of all the standard tropes of renfaire, like the joust, the dunking booth, the stocks, various games and rides, and wandering in and out of taverns and booths. All the renfaires I know are in California, but the Michigan Renaissance Festival has the classic look and feel. But then, I enjoy watching “The Safety Dance” video because it’s set at a renfaire, so IDK, take this all with a big grain of salt.
Of course, there’s the queen, supposedly Queen Elizabeth I, though never explicitly named as such. She’s played by Ann-Margaret, 1960s sex-symbol and one of the few somewhat well-known actors in this mess. Comedian Cedric the Entertainer has a cameo as the football player’s professor.
The costumes are very typical renfaire, so a hodgepodge of 16th-century England and Hollywood cliches. The leading characters have the least historical costumes while the extras have much more accurate ones. I think this is mostly to make the leads funny, since this flick is supposed to be a comedy. Where the main characters’ costumes are exaggerated or modified from historical or even typical renfaire styles, it emphasizes something ridiculous about those character.
Are you fond of renfaires? Would you watch All’s Faire in Love?