Exclaim!

Bright Young Things

Stephen Fry

Bright Young Things
Not to be mistaken with Dirty Pretty Things or Very Bad Things, Bright Young Things is the descriptor-filled title of Stephen Fry's witty directorial debut. Adapted from Evelyn Waugh's novel Vile Bodies, the film follows a group of aristocratic 20- and 30-somethings in 1930s England as they live lavish-looking lifestyles, always chasing the next party. Their wild, privileged, carefree lives are the talk of "Mr. Chatterbox's" gossip column every morning. But Adam (newcomer Stephen Campbell Moore) is not as naturally wealthy as his friends and he has to scrounge in order to pay back his employer (Dan Aykroyd) for a book that he was unable to deliver. He also needs money in order to marry his fiancée, Nina (Emily Mortimer). They are all just trying to find the time to keep their lives together even though the parties keep getting in the way. A satire on life in England between the wars, it's not surprising that Fry's first film as a director has a sense of humour. Little things like the background music during a party scene provided by a religious choir of girls dressed as angels singing "Jesus, you're the champ" and larger achievements, such as spurts of immensely clever dialogue, add to its appeal. But even though this is a very successful comedy, Bright Young Things is ultimately a story about struggles. When Adam looks at his fiancée and says, "What a lot of parties, Nina," he is no longer excited, he is worn out and the party is over. The DVD contains two featurettes. The documentary on Fry is just a standard look at the storyline of the film from the point of view of the director and the cast; but the second featurette is a true "making of," which is more in-depth than most. Made by the "runner" (the driver who picks up people and other necessities) on the film, it takes us to costume fittings and into the first meeting of the cast as they get a lesson from a vocal coach. Unfortunately, it also takes us into the prop room to look at boxes full of ivy. That's when it becomes clear that this runner should have had a lesson or two in editing. (MGM)
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