Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Easy Virtue

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Beans on toast, cricket and Noël Coward rank among the most puzzling of great British traditions. Despite decades of cheerleading from the likes of Woody Allen, the esteemed Coward remains the patron saint of wannabe bon vivants, but his droll brand of comic sophistication has never made much impact on the silver screen. That's not about to change with this ham-fisted adaptation of his 1927 farce about a young bride scandalizing her stuffy, well-to-do in-laws by actually having a pulse.   

Leggy, raspy-voiced Jessica Biel is dreadfully miscast as a brassy, race-car driving, Detroit-bred Larita, whom everyone insists on calling "Larry" in irksome fashion. She's supposed to stand out, but this is ridiculous — the comely actress fumbles jokes and mangles melodrama in nearly every scene. She's so gawky she makes you long for Scarlett Johansson to saunter in and start a battle of pouty bottle blondes. Biel is so off, in fact, she nearly distracts from director Stephan Elliot's weirder touches — such as actors breaking into snippets of out-of-period songs ("Sex Bomb"?) at the drop of a hat.

Whether you give a toss watching the twitted gentry struggle to keep up appearances, at least the English countryside looks nice, underneath the cigarette smoke. All isn't lost, Kristin Scott Thomas is fun as the icy mother-in-law, as is Colin Firth as the family's aloof father whose sheer boredom makes him an audience surrogate.

Opens Friday, June 12, at the Maple Theatre, 4135 W. Maple Rd., Bloomfield Hills; 248-263-2111.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 21, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation