Movie Review: 'Stiff Upper Lips'
The fancy corsets and even fancier table manners of British period dramas — Chariots of Fire, Upstairs Downstairs, the whole bleedin’ Merchant Ivory repertoire — provide for welcome, if heavy-handed, Naked Gun-style parody in Stiff Upper Lips, a sort of after-school project for actors who get paid to wear Edwardian costumes in serious endeavors. Alas, Leslie Nielsen doesn’t play Hudson, the quintessential butler, but the redoubtable Frank Finlay does; he pours tea for a quintessential maiden aunt (Prunella Scales) and her quintessentially sexually hungry niece (Georgina Cates). There are also a twitty, Brideshead-y nephew, an earthy D.H. Lawrencian gardener, a raj-mad tea-plantation owner (Peter Ustinov), and copious jokes needling the blasted class system that continues to earn Ismail Merchant and James Ivory a bundle.
Stiff Upper Lips