Director Whit Stillman’s marvelous comedy of class neuroses has one wonderful advantage on video: rewind. Stillman’s script is so good — and so casually good — that it’s hard in a single viewing to catch every Frisbee of dialogue he tosses. Proof positive that the pen is mightier than the dollar, Stillman’s low-budget film rips into the lives of preppies and debutantes over a few weeks during one Manhattan Christmas season and becomes a eulogy for the values of the ’80s.
Metropolitan’s snobby, immature yet highly articulate Brooks Brothers Brady Bunch drifts aimlessly through the deb-party circuit, dancing to decidedly harmless music, blabbing about God, sex, the Plaza Hotel, and the group’s own phobias about downward mobility. You might call it The Discreet Smarminess of the Bourgeoisie. Yet Stillman manages to find real people buried behind the often vapid facades. And his casting of unknowns is inspired: Eigeman as an adder-tongued and self-appointed social critic; Farina as a lovely and sensitive girl who adores Jane Austen; and Edward Clements as Tom, an outsider of ”limited resources” who is actually more suited to the clique than those already in it. A-