Synopsis: The twenties have roared...the thirties have yet to swing. John Whittaker, a young Englishman, falls madly in love with Larita, a sexy and glamorous American woman, and they marry impetuously. However when the couple returns to the family home, his mother Mrs. Whittaker has an instant allergic reaction to her new daughter-in-law. Larita tries her best to fit in but fails to tiptoe through the minefield laid by her mother-in-law. Larita quickly realizes Mrs. Whittaker’s game and sees that she must fight back if she’s not going to lose John. A battle of wits ensues and sparks soon fly. Mrs. Whittaker manipulates every situation to undermine her, while Larita remains frustratingly calm and engineers sassy counter attacks. Before long, Mrs. Whittaker’s manipulation starts to work on John and Larita feels their love is in danger of slipping away. In a grand finale, where the secrets from Larita’s past are revealed, she finally makes a break for freedom from the suffocating house... [Synopsis courtesy of film's official website]
Round-up: "Sadly, 'Easy Virtue' spends more time hitting the most obvious beats (especially Noel Coward’s verbal innuendoes) hard, only hinting at the more germane update that might have been," indieWIRE's Jeff ... Reichert writes. Reichert also picks on Jessica Biel (saying she's "reaching for sophistication and stumbling"), as does Says The AV Club's Scott Tobias: "The film sets Biel toe-to-toe with a calculating blueblood played by Kristin Scott Thomas, but the dry wit with which Biel attempts to deflect her adversary’s one-liners instead bounces limply to the hardwood." On the other hand, The Los Angeles Times' Betsy Sharkey says it's "a treat to watch Biel and Thomas go at it," and certainly enjoyed the film: "Elliott has created a wonderfully rich battle for propriety in "Easy Virtue." The humor might sting, but the pain is worth the pleasure." So did The Village Voice's Ella Taylor, who writes that "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." The film found its biggest detractor, however, in The New York Post's Lou Lumenick: "'Easy Virtue' is a crass, heavy- handed and -- most unfor givably -- largely laugh-free adaptation of The Master's infrequently revived 1924 comic melodrama."