Picks and Pans Review: Easy Virtue

updated 06/01/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/01/2009 01:00AM

Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas | PG-13 | 2

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COMEDY Remember the Sesame Street song that went, "One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong"? It kept running through my mind while watching a fetching Biel gamely try to keep up with practiced British comedy-of-manors experts Firth and Scott Thomas in this droll film version of a 1924 Noël Coward play. Biel plays a sexy American flapper who finds herself doing battle with her battle-ax of a snobby mother-in-law (Scott Thomas) in a musty English country mansion. Biel works hard but the effort shows, while Scott Thomas and Firth (as Biel's boozy sympathetic father-in-law) sail along, earning laughs with the simplest of gestures or looks and yet conveying bitterness that runs deep.

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