The Importance of Being Earnest - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Importance of Being Earnest Reviews

Top Critic
Robert Koehler
Variety
March 26, 2009
[An] utterly miscalculated film adaptation of Wilde's play.
Top Critic
David Ansen
Newsweek
November 1, 2007
This may be a less than ideal "Earnest," but it still has delights...
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Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
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.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 7, 2004
Wilde subtitled his masterpiece "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People." This movie seems intent on being a trivial comedy for trivial people.
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
August 9, 2002
| Original Score: B
Top Critic
Robert K. Elder
Chicago Tribune
July 20, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
June 6, 2002
Though Mr. Parker's The Importance of Being Earnest is pleasant enough in its casting and performances, it doesn't work as it should.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
June 3, 2002
Beautifully done.
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
June 1, 2002
[Everett] mugs away desperately as the feckless Algernon Moncrieff and overplays Mutt to the Jeff of Colin Firth, who renders earnest Jack Worthing in his usual key of hunky worrywart as he struggles opposite Frances O'Connor's wan Gwendolen.
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
May 31, 2002
Rupert Everett gets Wilde in his bones, but this well-cast adaptation somehow feels obvious and overblown.
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
May 31, 2002
Those who prefer the play as a gleaming comedy of manners may object, but viewers who enjoy more physical humor are likely to revel in the film's deliciously barbed dialogue and frenetic chemistry.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
May 31, 2002
In trying to make Earnest more of a visual romp than it needs to be, [Parker] almost stomps the Wildeness out of its literary wit. But he doesn't. The good humor and lively acting survive.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
May 30, 2002
The ingenuity that Parker displays in freshening the play is almost in a class with that of Wilde himself.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
May 30, 2002
The film is a fragile frolic, but the real theme enjoyed by countless audiences through the years -- the importance of being earnest instead of deceitful in matters of the heart -- still shines through the frosting.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
May 25, 2002
While The Importance of Being Earnest offers opportunities for occasional smiles and chuckles, it doesn't give us a reason to be in the theater beyond Wilde's wit and the actors' performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
May 24, 2002
Offers a breath of the fresh air of true sophistication.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
May 24, 2002
Smart, sassy interpretation of the Oscar Wilde play.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
May 24, 2002
There are moments of hilarity to be had.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
May 24, 2002
Even half-baked, "Earnest" is still delicious.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
May 24, 2002
To take a big fat wrecking ball to one of the surefire delights of world theater -- well, that requires energy and invention ... Oliver Parker does that here, and the result is a frustrating, boring mess.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 24, 2002
Despite the sparkling source material ... this romp through Victorian parlors frequently falls flat on its rump.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
May 24, 2002
...a ho-hum affair, always watchable yet hardly memorable.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Susan Stark
Detroit News
May 24, 2002
Nice try, mixed result.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
May 24, 2002
Parker dams the flow of Wilde's brilliant comic revelations and reversals with contrived visuals.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
May 24, 2002
The Importance of Being Earnest, so thick with wit it plays like a reading from Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Loren King
Boston Globe
May 24, 2002
...sharp performances and a literate script that never has to resort to cheap humor to be sidesplittingly funny.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
May 24, 2002
Parker keeps things light and lively, and the cast never trips over Wilde's eloquence.
| Original Score: A
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
May 23, 2002
Director Oliver Parker labors so hard to whip life into The Importance of Being Earnest that he probably pulled a muscle or two.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
May 23, 2002
This Earnest misses the play's biggest joke: There's nothing the least bit earnest about any of it.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
Newsday
May 22, 2002
What Wilde regarded as 'a trivial comedy for serious people,' Parker has made over into a trivial comedy for trivial people.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
May 22, 2002
Oscar Wilde's masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, may be the best play of the 19th century. It's so good that its relentless, polished wit can withstand not only inept school productions, but even Oliver Parker's movie adaptation.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
May 22, 2002
Director Parker's style is sometimes at odds with the playwright's, but the film builds up steam in time for the classic comedy's intricate finish.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
May 22, 2002
For all its distractions and additions, The Importance of Being Earnest is still a reasonably entertaining costume comedy.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Jessica Winter
Village Voice
May 21, 2002
A proficient skim of the Man With the Green Carnation's wit and wisdom, piped by an able crew of quick-tongued ventriloquists.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
May 15, 2002
Somewhere buried beneath the frippery and undergrad-comedy-revue jokiness of Oliver Parker's adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest is Oscar Wilde, yearning to get a word in edgewise.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
David Hunter
Hollywood Reporter
May 14, 2002
Where Husband was light on its feet and congenial, Earnest never gets off the ground.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 8, 2002
Parker pushes a bit -- who knew Earnest had a love duet sung by Algy and Jack? -- but he proves this vintage bubbly hasn't lost its fizz.
| Original Score: 3.5/5