Eternally quotable raconteur, aesthete and "first modern man" Oscar Wilde once remarked, "Self-denial is the shining sore on the leprous body of Christianity." The bright, young things in Bright Young Things, based on fellow Brit Evelyn Waugh's second novel, Vile Bodies, seem to have taken Wilde's acumen to heart. Christian or not, the only shine on these bodies comes from the sequins and diamonds. Directed with a subtle satirical flair by English actor and novice filmmaker Stephen Fry (who himself portrayed Wilde in a biopic a few years back), Bright Young Things is certainly full of flash and glitter. At the height of the "jazz age" in swinging London, the country's imperial might is at its apex and the future seems limitless for aspiring young writer Adam Symes (newcomer Stephen Campbell Moore). Symes is desperately in love with Nina Blount (Emily Mortimer), a British Daisy Buchanan more effervescent than the champagne she loves to swill. Unfortunately for Symes, his intentions to marry Nina are solid but his wallet is a little light. Owing a debt to local newspaper magnate Lord Monomark (Dan Aykroyd), Symes transforms himself into the gossip columnist Mr. Chatterbox and becomes a "successful journalist" to impress her. It works, regardless of the fact that she knows Symes makes all of it up. He ends up duping not just the public but his friends — the hedonistic, cocaine-snorting socialites he lampoons — as well. That is, until he loses his job and Nina in one fell swoop. Featuring a cast of supporting players that includes no less than Jim Broadbent, Stockard Channing, Richard E. Grant and Peter O'Toole (as intoxicating as he is intoxicated), Bright Young Things is full of more than just the exuberance of untamed youth. As for the leads, the wan, red-eyed Moore is sadly short on charisma, a point made all the more obvious by Mortimer's stunning overabundance of it. The guileless, gamine ingénue is almost unrecognisable from her recent role in Nicole Holofcener's Lovely and Amazing, but is just as enchanting. Mortimer at once exudes the natural, sophisticated intelligence and tender vulnerability of a young Vanessa Redgrave. The movie itself is often an absolute riot, as fizzy and intoxicating as gas. If only Fry hadn't conspired with novel in hand to turn such fun into a dour championing of the good, old-fashioned Christian work ethic. Forget Waugh, what would Wilde have to say? (Revolution/Icon)