Runtime: 1 hr 33 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Stephan Elliott
Starring: Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Colin Firth, Kimberley Nixon, Katherine Parkinson, Kris Marshall
Mild comedy of manners.
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 8 years ago
Mrs. Whittaker (Kristin Scott Thomas) has a first name, but it's almost never spoken, since she is a prim and proper member of the British aristocracy. Her husband, Mr. Whittaker (a grizzled looking Colin Firth), survived the Great War but mentally checked out afterwards. Together the two of them and their two grown daughters, Hilda (Kimberley Nixon) and Marion (Katherine Parkinson), live in a large mansion only slightly smaller than a royal palace.
But the apparently wealthy Whittakers have had to economize some lately, letting go of six of the servants and heating only half of their sprawling house. One day, their comfortable existence is disturbed by the arrival of their own son, John (Ben Barnes), who has scandalously married Larita (Jessica Biel), a bleached blonde race car driver. Older than John, Larita is a widow whose last husband died of cancer. She is also an American, which makes her immediately suspected of not having the proper breeding.
EASY VIRTUE is a mild comedy of manners set in the Roaring Twenties. You might think any comedy filled with flappers would be easy to make funny, but this one isn't. It is a comedy which deserves no laughs and few smiles. The film is by director Stephan Elliott, whose last movie was EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, a truly awful would-be thriller from 1999, starring Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd. EASY VIRTUE, however, is never painfully bad. It's just consistently bland. You probably won't hate it. You'll more likely just be indifferent to it.
The retreaded dialog offers little for the viewers. About as good as it ever gets comes in an exchange between Marion and her father when they first lay eyes on Larita, as she and John drive up to the family estate for the first time. "I don't feel like smiling," Marion tells her father. He quickly admonishes her, "You're English. Fake it."
There is one and only one satisfying part of the production. The songs are uniformly sublime with, "You Do Something To Me" being a typically lovely one. Buy the sound track. Skip the movie.
EASY VIRTUE runs 1:33. It is rated PG-13 for "sexual content, brief partial nudity, and smoking throughout" and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and up.