Published Jan 01, 2006Based on Evelyn Waugh's novel, Vile Bodies, Bright Young Things is writer/actor Stephen Fry's directorial debut. It follows the lives of the rich and frivolous in 1930s London high society, and also the tabloids and paparazzi that follow their every move.
While Adam (Stephen Campbell Moore) keeps losing the money he needs to marry Nina (Emily Mortimer of Lovely and Amazing), the decadent lifestyle begins to take its toll on their glamorous friends. Adam secretly agrees to write a gossip column for Canadian press baron Lord Monomark (Dan Aykroyd) but chooses to invent the sordid tales rather than sell out his friends. As World War Two looms large, the socialite inner circle implodes and Adam finds himself on the battlefield.
The film's tone wavers uncertainly between satire, farce and attempts at sincerity. Fry's direction is often stylish and he captures well the opulence of the scene, but there are a few too many heavy-handed moments telegraphed by the cheesy music. The material, while having some resonance to today's fucked-up rich kids and tabloid culture, still seems dated and not so relevant.
The lead actors do a fine job, but the best thing in the movie are the cameo performances. Besides a surprisingly good Dan Aykroyd, Simon Callow, Jim Broadbent, Stockard Channing and a remarkable Peter O'Toole all step in briefly to elevate the movie to a more interesting level. (Th!nk)