From plays, shows, reworked books, and movies, there’s no shortage of adaptations of Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride And Prejudice. The vast majority of them have maintained the period in which it is set, the 1800s. But director Patrick Perez Vidauri and first-time screenwriter Rosalind Resnick bring the beloved tale to modern-day New York City in Townhouse Confidential.
Liz Perry (Sam Simone) and her sisters Mary (Allison Wick) and Lydia (Brittany Bennett) live in a townhouse they inherited after their parents passed eight years ago. The issue is that this is New York, and the sisters don’t make a ton of money. Liz works at Magnolia Bakery and loves it, but it doesn’t pay the best. Mary runs a highly lauded real estate gossip rag but has yet to turn into something lucrative. Lydia is a personal trainer and does earn a sizable paycheck, though it is not enough.
So to keep up with the mortgage, the Perry sisters lease out a section of the townhouse. Unfortunately, their latest tenant, Jonathan (Russell Sperberg), is best friends with the “Prince Charming of West Village real estate,” George Barrow (Lee Tyler). George creates a seemingly nitpicky list of things the sisters must complete before Jonathan moves in. To that end, Liz contacts hunky maintenance man Tommy Leroy (Jonas Barranca) to help with the repairs. His past with George reinforces Liz’s feelings about the man’s arrogance. Even still, with them facing foreclosure and sparks flying in the right and wrong directions, Liz, Mary, and Lydia find themselves at their wit’s end.
Knowing Townhouse Confidential is a riff on Pride And Prejudice means most viewers will figure out who actually loves who, who will betray that person, and what the ultimate truth is. But surprising plot twists are not really the point of Resnick’s screenplay (admittedly, there are a few involving some low-level mob bosses that land well). Instead, the focus is on the characters’ interactions with each other and their playful banter. To that end, the film is charming and sweet.
“…facing foreclosure and sparks flying in the right and wrong directions, Liz, Mary, and Lydia find themselves at their wit’s end.”
When Tommy Leroy talks up a cupcake to the point of sending Liz into a euphoric state, her lust for the baked good is both funny and entirely understandable. Lydia using her position as a trainer to look for love and monetary help is delightful. An anonymous contact giving Mary the exclusive scoop of a lifetime via a clandestine meeting in a parking lot is absurd but also fun.
To that end, Townhouse Confidential lives or dies through the ability of its ensemble to be charming, sincere, and engaging. Thankfully, this is the standout element of the picture. Simone is poised for big things as she is effortlessly sweet, angry, crazy, and fun. Wick makes the obsessive need for Mary to get the latest happenings on the famous people who come and go from the West Village more than an annoying trait. It’s how she interacts with the world. Bennett is a lot of fun, especially in a scene where she tells a client she loves him.
As George, Tyler seems too stiff and awkward in his first scene. But, it is soon revealed that the posh aura he exudes is an act to keep up appearances. As he lets his guard down, he feels more natural and believable in the role. Al Linea and Joseph D’Onofrio play the two organized crime goons and have incredible comedic timing.
The direction, cinematography, and lighting of Townhouse Confidential hover around a better-than-average Hallmark film. However, the script is witty, the characters are fun, and the cast is great. All in all, this is a charming and fun modern update of a classic story.
For screening information, visit the Townhouse Confidential official website.
"…the script is witty, the characters are fun, and the cast is great."