A comedy of discriminating taste and dirty little secrets. When a movie star and Hollywood diva Miranda Frayle break up, a playboy prince with a stiff upper lip sweeps her off her feet and boldly takes her home to meet his... more » high-class, society-minded mother, who is none-too-pleased at the thought of having a "starlet" in the family. But when the former boyfriend hears about the wedding, he jumps back in the spotlight--and with the help of Miranda's meddling mother-in-law to be, he may just win her back.« less
Ronica D. (HizEyesToo) from BELLINGHAM, WA Reviewed on 6/20/2013...
This is ironic humor at it's best.
As a royal, Julie Andrews is placed so well in her role, and, as each character is introduced, the story-line unfolds at a well-paced clip.
It's important to watch the very beginning to appreciate the entire plot.
While the plot may seem predictable, the witty and whimsical one-liners threaded throughout the script--together with the exceptional performances and well-written script--add to the freshness of this story.
Nacie | Waverly, IA | 09/20/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a drawing room comedy based on a play by Noel Coward. Having not read it, I must presume it would come off better as a stage play rather than a movie. Not that this is bad, really...Just that its not as good as it should be. The British cast (Julie Andrews, Colin Firth, Stephen Fry and Sophie Thompson) play their roles flawlessly, the Americans (William Baldwin, Jeanne Tripplehorn) less so.
The plot: a member of the British nobility (Andrews) is dismayed when her son (NOT Colin Firth as some OTHER reviewers would have you believe)becomes engaged to a movie star (Tripplehorn) whose ex(Baldwin) follows her to England to reunite.
Stephan Fry as the butler, and Sophie Thompson as "milady's" companion/secretary are wonderful; as are the various actors and actresses who make up the staff of the manor. Likewise, Colin Firth gives a hilarious performance of her gay nephew, who aids and abets in the eventual reunion. The upstairs-downstairs feel of the film adds to the confusion; a welcome distraction from the Balwin/Tripplehorn storyline. It is so obvious that these two are trying to be amusing, that they fail entirely. In contrast, the others, who do it so effortlesly, succeed admirably.
All in all, light & fluffy, but nothing to rewatch again and agiain (unless, as I always do, you simply want another look at Colin)."
A Must for Any Julie Andrews or Noel Coward Fan
Anita | Cincinnati, OH USA | 03/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recent release is a must-have for any Julie Andrews or Noel Coward fan. The ensemble cast, including Collin Firth, Jeanne Tripplehorn, William Baldwin, Sophie Thompson and Stephen Fry breathe life into this Noel Coward drawingroom comedy originally written for the stage. The film's script remains true to the play; yet the occasional changes to the play's dialogue fit so seamlessly into the original dialogue that one would never know that it had been changed. Sophie Thompson's acting talents are clearly apparent in her transformation from Felicity's (Julie Andrews' character) servant to a "friend of the family" to disguise her real identity from her sister (Jeanne Tripplehorn's obnoxious character) and would have been Oscar material had the film been released originally in movie theaters, rather than going directly to cable television. But the center of the universe is Felicity, the matriarch of the family around whom the entire plot seems to revolve. Julie Andrews was born for the role of Felicity, and her performace does not disappoint. The actors in this film at times give very subtle emotional coloring to their roles merely by a glance or grimmace. There is no question who is in charge of THIS manor! Anyone who finds the differences between Brits and Americans amusing will find this film an excellent choice. The film has a happy and amusing ending and is well worth waiting for."
I Enjoyed A Lot; Hubby Stayed Out Of Room
carol irvin | United States | 05/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hubby didn't even enjoy what he was hearing on the other side of the house coming from this movie. However, I'd had a hard day, was totally exhausted and needed something extremely light and frothy so I could completely zone out. This fit the bill perfectly. It is an English ensemble drawing room type comedy. Julie Andrews plays a dowager countess in 1953 whose son, the Earl, decides to marry an American movie star. The countess and her nephew (played by Colin Firth) set the stage to seemingly welcome the couple back to their home but really to break them up. Helping them along are William Baldwin, playing an American movie star who was the woman's former boyfriend, plus the countess's maid who knew the woman film star in her earlier life. Slight? You bet but it was just what the doctor ordered."
CHANGE OF PACE FOR COLIN FIRTH
GEORGE RANNIE | DENVER, COLORADO United States | 10/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To see Colin Firth as a blond and as a Noel Coward type character is certainly worth the price of this DVD. For a long time, I have thought that Colin is a splendid actor having first seen him in "Another Country" with Rupert Everett. However, I always viewed him as being a rather serious, dark, intense and rather gloomy type of actor(i.e, Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice). As usual those British actors/actresses can not be stereotyped! Anyone having the perception, as I did, that Colin Firth can only be serious is in for a huge suprise in "Relative Values". He is funny, charming and delightful as a character that resembles Noel Coward. He is so good that, at first, he is almost unrecognizable. There isn't even a hint of his "Mr. Darcy" side. It really is a nice change of pace for him and for his fans.
The rest of the cast is also very enjoyable. Stephen Fry is a delight as a "Jeeves-type" character. Julie Andrews is also very enjoyable!
For a light, forthy movie you can't go wrong with "Relative Values". If you are a fan of Colin Firth and think that he is soooooo serious, treat yourself to a nice surprise and see how versatile this superb actor is."
Fun drawing-room comedy
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 04/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hollywood and English high society collide in a fluffy little comedy, amusing and witty in quite a few places and with a top-rate cast. It's not quite P.G. Wodehouse, a little gooier and less complex, but it'll hit about the same note."Everything is quite, quite ghastly." So says the English aristocrat Lady Felicity Marshwood, and rightly so. America's golden acting couple, Miranda Frayle and Don Lucas, has recently split up after a tempestuous romance. Now the glamorous Miranda is engaged to Felicity's son Nigel, and he's bringing her back to England to meet his dear mum. Felicity is inundated by friends making offers of support that she doesn't want, and the servants (with the exception of the brainy butler) are all in a twitter over getting to meet a real film star.Then little disasters begin to strike. It's found that Moxie, Felicity's faithful maid, is really Miranda Frayle's older sister. Miranda herself is charming and utterly artificial -- until her slightly sozzled ex-boyfriend shows up, intending to woo her back away from Nigel. Felicity, her wittily charming nephew Peter, and her thoughtful butler Crestwell must try to keep everything and everyone steady as the entire situation spins out of control.This is a cute little comedy. It has plenty of touches like the Girl Guides drooling over Don, Miranda's makeup and oh-so-perfect hair during her swim, Felicity walking in on Don and Miranda smooching, and the hapless woman being dragged across the Marshwoods' lawn every day by a dog. There's even a clip from the Miranda-Don movie in the middle of it -- a hilariously overacted bit with dreadfully hammy acting. It's great!The casting is great, though a few are a bit well-worn for the people they are played by: Julie Andrews is great as the serene dowager (when she says "I think I'll explode" to Peter, you don't believe she will for a MOMENT!); Stephen Fry has echoes of his Jeeves role as the ultra-brain servant Crestwell; Colin Firth plays a barb-tongued "idle rich" who is enjoying the whole fiasco; Sophie Thompson of "Sense and Sensibility" plays an insecure and overwrought friend/servant with a Dirty Little Secret. Jeanne Tripplehorn is pretty good as Miranda Frayle (she doesn't overdo Miranda's lies and preening); William Baldwin was overacting as Don Lucas, but he was also sexy as heck; Nigel is enjoyably stereotyped as a stiff-uppa-lip type who is also too stubborn to admit that he made an idiotic mistake with Miranda.It's PG for a bit of mild language, usually from Miranda and Don. There's no smut (beyond a few passionate smooches) or violence, though parents should note that it is hinted that Peter is gay. But kiddies will probably not fully understand the storyline and might be bored stiff by it; they won't start enjoying it until they're teens.Okay, so this movie won't make you laugh and cry and vow to go out and live life. It's an entertaining little comedy that is well worth the watch."