This updated version of an old classic tries too hard to better Wilde's own impeccable script by trying to appeal to more modern tastes. Its modifications, such as Gwendolyn's car & tattoo, Algie's jazz playing and running from the law, give the whole story a less credible air. It's not so much that the film has been updated, more mixed-dated, and the laughs seem cheap; too much has been taken from the imagination and dialogue through the excesses on screen.
However, although Colin Firth and Rupert Everett may seem too old, they feasibly carry off their roles. Dame Judy has the unenviable task of delivering lines immortalised by Dame Edith Evans; her reinterpretation is creative and appropriate, although the playful smile at the corner of her mouth somewhat reduced her traditional authority.
The film was enjoyable, but it's earnestly flippant direction prevented it from being the hillarious comedy of manners of Wildes' original play