947. The Importance Of Being Earnest (2002)

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6.4 Weak adaptation
  • Acting 6.9
  • Directing 6.1
  • Story 6.3
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Judi Dench

Director: Oliver Parker

Running Time: 97 mins


The Importance Of Being Earnest is a British film about two men who pass off as being named ‘Ernest’ in order to impress their respective lovers, with chaos resulting due to an aristocratic woman’s objections.

Well, this lives up to Oscar Wilde’s play with regards to being farcical, light-hearted and very easy-going. However, what it doesn’t manage to do is make for a properly funny watch, failing to mix the modern rom-com feel of the film with the original dialogue effectively, and despite having some decent performances, isn’t wholly interesting to follow along due to playing out as a typical genre movie.

On the positive side of things, this film is very simple, light-hearted and easy to watch. The humour is light, nothing is too raunchy (on the face of things), and although most of us don’t really get the Victorian innuendoes thrown in here and there in the original dialogue, it is still silly enough to enjoy.

The performances are also excellent here, as all the actors bring a degree of modernisation to the classic roles while also appearing to have a lot of fun on screen, and despite some unlikely casting choices, mostly Reese Witherspoon, everyone puts in a good show to help make this a simple, fun romantic comedy.

However, despite all that, this ‘comedy of manners’ that is so famous as being one of the funniest theatre productions of all time, just isn’t as hilarious as a modern movie. That is in part due to the fact that the comedy is pretty dated, and is now just very light rather than raunchy and packed with innuendoes as it was in its original time, and the failure of the writers to incorporate something else to spark this story into life apart from just using the original dialogue.

And whilst the story has always been a big entertainer through the years, this doesn’t pull off the same manic, chaotic atmosphere as the original play, due to its lack of snappy repartees and slow development and over-emphasis on the romance instead of the comedy from time to time.

Overall, this gets a 6.4, because despite having strong performances and an easy-going atmosphere, this just isn’t a funny enough adaptation of the original play.

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About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com