Adam is a boy-about-town in pre-World War II London. As his chums party hard in the media spotlight, his main concern is making enough money to marry his girlfriend, Nina.
That Stephen Fry's directorial debut is an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies is no great surprise. Camp, comical and just OTT enough, it's a smooth satire of a shallow, celebrity-obsessed culture that, upper-crust dominance aside, isn't all that dissimilar to today's vanity circus. Substitute reality-TV stars and big-breasted tabloid lovelies for eccentric, outrageously dressed toffs, and you're almost there.
Adam and his friends' scandalous sex 'n' drugs antics are brightly portrayed, with Fry's comic touch working best when highlighting his characters' many flaws. The strength of the film's themes - love and money, sex and celebrity - make it accessible, if a little stunted towards the somewhat hurried ending.
Naturally, the Brit flick regulars are out in force, with cameos from Richard E. Grant, Imelda Staunton and Simon Callow complementing a strong lead performance from newcomer Stephen Campbell Moore. And though it falls short of Fry's best work in other fields, this is a sound first feature.
Well, it's bright, cheerful and bloody good fun. Enough for a debut, surely?
Reviewed by Jane Howdle