The Importance of Being Earnest
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The Importance of Being Earnest
A superb cast brings Oscar Wilde's classic comedy of manners to life in the third big-screen adaptation of this hilarious look at fun, games, and dubious ethics among the British upper crust. Algernon Moncrieff (Rupert Everett) is a slightly shady, but charming gentlemen from a wealthy family who has a bad habit of throwing his money away. Algernon has a close friend named Jack Worthing (Colin Firth), a self-made man who acts as a ward to his cousin, a beautiful young lady named Cecily (Reese Witherspoon). Algernon has created an alter ego to help him get out of tight spots brought on by… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 58%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"[An] utterly miscalculated film adaptation of Wilde's play."
‑ Robert Koehler, Variety
"Wilde subtitled his masterpiece "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People." This movie seems intent on being a trivial comedy for trivial people."
‑ Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture
"Romance and deception in Wilde's clever comedy of manners."
‑ S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
"Always destined to be measured against Anthony Asquith's acclaimed 1952 screen adaptation."
‑ Harry Guerin, RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)
"The souffle rises about a quarter of the way before stodgily collapsing in Oliver Parker's new version of Oscar Wilde's classic."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"This may be a less than ideal "Earnest," but it still has delights..."
‑ David Ansen, Newsweek
"The Importance of Being Earnest resonates and inspires rapid-fire bouts of laughter, perhaps even a few giggles from the author himself, whom posterity has rewarded the last laugh."
‑ Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune
"The movie stumbles along awkwardly rather than tripping by wittily from beginning to end. The fault lies in Parker's needless embellishments."
‑ Judith Egerton, Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
"The ability to compress such a hilariously complex story into 97 minutes of film is a tribute both to Wilde's astounding economy with words and Parker's mastery of his source material."
‑ John R. McEwen, Film Quips Online
"Despite a few distracting cinematic touches, Oliver Parker's 'Earnest' effort is a joy to watch -- and to hear."
‑ Betty Jo Tucker, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"You might suppose that Oscar Wilde's theatrical evergreen is indestructible. But that would be to reckon without the intervention of 'writer'/director Parker, who really makes a pig's ear of this silk purse."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Though Mr. Parker's The Importance of Being Earnest is pleasant enough in its casting and performances, it doesn't work as it should."
‑ Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
"Click to read review"
‑ Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
"Could it be better cast? NO! It?s a frothy delight, true to the spirit of the original, but flavored with the permissiveness of the present."
‑ Karina Montgomery, Cinerina
"Shot in lavish Technicolor but restricted to a few well-designed sets, The Importance of Being Earnest is a small cinematic gem."
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
More reviews for The Importance of Being Earnest on Rotten Tomatoes

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