Bright Young Things
“Are you a butterfly or a bee?” blustery newspaper magnate Lord Monomark (Dan Ackroyd) demands of the callow young man cowering in his office. “Do you want to flit around, or make honey?” Adam Symes (Stephen Campbell Moore) wants to make honey, but it seems hard for him to concentrate when his only novel has been confiscated as smut and there are so many smart parties every night in midwar London, how can any boy think straight? Stephen Fry’s adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel Vile Bodies chronicles the familiar story of “bright young things” with money and a thirst for living it up, all the way to the dawning realizations of adulthood, World War II, and the day the fun runs out. It’s an almost crushingly predictable semi-cautionary tale (as if a misspent youth is anything but well spent)—Less Than Zero by way of Masterpiece Theatre. The film starts slow, plodding from one vapid spree to another, only gaining depth and speed once the characters suffer a little and grow up. Fun’s fun, fine, but there’s no reason to pick this retelling of Chaps Gone Wild over any other, unless you’re overly fond of Edwardian décor.