Easy Virtue 2008

Critics score:
52 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Ben Lyons, At the Movies: Biel delivers the best performance of her young career. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Elliott nearly turns the whole affair into a musical, with characters singing snatches of Coward and Cole Porter songs. But his sense of humor is extremely broad. Read more

David Fear, Time Out: Coward's champagne-fizz lightness has never felt so labored; nothing here comes easy. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: The only characters who seem anchored in some form of reality are the hero's parents...all the others, from siblings to servants, are standard-issue eccentrics or the subjects of running gags. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Echoing the words of the great Porter song, Easy Virtue deliciously misbehaves. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: Easy Virtue needs a strong center to justify its celebration of American effrontery, and Biel lacks that prideful edge. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Jessica Biel gets more publicity for her body and her boyfriend than for her acting ability, but Easy Virtue may be cause for a reassessment. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Those coming in cold may be forgiven for thinking they've wandered into Atonement remade as a farce. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: These are good actors telling a good story, so the virtue is indeed easy to grasp, and a fine time should be had by all. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Jessica Biel in a teacup-rattling '20s period piece? With her lewd pinup grin and husky flat voice, she sticks out like a sore starlet in Easy Virtue -- but that's the whole point in this loosely 'freshened up' version of a Noel Coward play. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: We're primed for an old-fashioned cat fight, but director Stephan Elliot can't get more fangs from Biel than a kitten. Read more

Connie Ogle, Miami Herald: It lumbers instead of dazzles, drags where it should feint and jab. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: There's supposed to be some distance between the main character and the family she marries into — but that distance probably shouldn't include acting styles. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: The fizz falls flat. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: The first Noel Coward play to hit the big screen in more than 40 years, Easy Virtue is a crass, heavy- handed and -- most unfor givably -- largely laugh-free adaptation of The Master's infrequently revived 1924 comic melodrama. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: All told, a sparkling, classy and ultimately satisfying experience. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: A winning, witty fox trot through the Roaring 20s, when men were men, women were liberating themselves and the 'to the manner born' were losing their grip on their manners -- and manors. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Full of forced jocularity and drawing-room hissy fits, with its cast parading around in vintage threads and antique cars, Easy Virtue is a close-to-insufferable souffle based on the 1925 Noel Coward play. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: The laughter found in Easy Virtue requires a sophisticated cinematic palate, but for those who appreciate this sort of motion picture, it's a top-notch creation. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Unusually for a play by Noel Coward, Love struggles while conquering All in Easy Virtue, a subversive view of British country-house society between the wars. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: The elegant barbed wit of Noel Coward bubbling up in a time of Wolverine grunts. I must be dreaming. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: [Director] Elliott had a choice in Easy Virtue, to turn away from the horror or face it. He takes his time, but he eventually does face it -- and delivers up a good movie. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Easy Virtue has all the elements for a sprightly romp with serious underpinnings, and occasionally it achieves that balance. But it's marred by attempts at farce that are as belabored as they are ill-advised. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: Easy Virtue has enough traces of Coward's wit to keep you hoping for the first hour or so, but then the film collapses under the weight of too many misguided innovations. Read more

Bruce Demara, Toronto Star: Full of gorgeous architecture and sightlines but a bit too cold for comfort and with an all-too pervasive air of tedium. Read more

Hank Sartin, Time Out: Read more

Trevor Johnston, Time Out: Overall, the film's never less than lively - with Kris Marshall a nifty scene-stealer as the wise butler - yet you do get the sense that greater discipline all round would have made even more of it. As it is, it's fizzy, but variable. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Goes down as light and fizzily as a flute of Champagne tossed back in an airy drawing room. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: A fine cast makes sure Noel Coward's champagne remains bubbly in Easy Virtue, an effervescent entertainment. Read more

Ella Taylor, Village Voice: Stephan Elliott's deliciously cheeky screen adaptation of one of the satirist's lesser-known jabs at the British upper crust will charm your pants off. Read more

Dan Zak, Washington Post: What might've been a scrumptious, chocolatey dessert of a movie -- a Noel Coward delite -- is instead a scoop of lemon ice, not filling, faintly sweet and mostly water. Read more