Bright Young Things (2003, Stephen Fry) - rated - TEPID

This is quite an uneven film – the directing debut of Stephen Fry, from the novel, ‘Vile Bodies’, by Evelyn Waugh. The film begins, in my opinion, with a misjudgement.  It begins with the Benny Goodman/ Louis Prima hit song (from the 1930s, when the film is set) "Sing Sing Sing" Immediately I thought: Woody Allen

The film is actually quite cartoonish starring lots of what would be Fry’s mates. The performances are variable, although the cast is great.  There are several quite broad cameos, including King of Anatolia (Simon Callow) & Nigel Planer as the taxi driver, but Peter O'Toole is great. Who plays Margo? Hilarious! Fenella Woolgar is wonderful as Agatha, but Stockard Channing seems just too broad a caricature. Even Dan Ackroyd pops up!

There are some technical problems: the restless moving camera is too often out of focus.  And are there strips across the screen? Were there really so many young writers wasting their lives writing about society-related things?

Some sections are just too broadly comic: for example, “Ain't no Flies on the Lamb of God” (sung by Channing, and I think at least co-written by Fry).  Some are deliciously wicked: for example, John Mills snorting coke. Richard E Grant as a bishop! And some are just clichéd: for examples, the candles towards the end.

The audience laughed when Lord Balcairn put his head in the oven.  In the mental home there are cocktail things in the wardrobe & a gramophone under the bed.  I guess that happens when you are rich.  As her friends say: “We've never had a party in a mental home before.”

But all this madcap satire stops abruptly at the time of the races, when things turn serious.  But there’s something missing here.  For me it didn’t gel.  It ran out of steam along the way.