Bright Young Things

How clever of actor Stephen Fry (Wilde): He makes his debut as a director by adapting Evelyn Waugh's 1930 novel Vile Bodies — about gossipy, fashion and sex-obsessed British party animals — into a movie that would make Paris Hilton feel at home. Fry keeps things popping as aspiring novelist Adam (Stephen Campbell Moore) tries to hold on to his fiancee, Nina (Emily Mortimer). Her dotty dad (Peter O'Toole) thinks Adam is not good (read: rich) enough, especially when he writes dish for a tabloid king (Dan Aykroyd). By the time Fry lets darkness encroach on these bright young things, including a flapper (a terrific Fenella Woolgar) and a suicidal scribe (James McAvoy), the fizz is gone, and so is any reason to make us give a damn.

From The Archives Issue 348: July 23, 1981