Vanity Fair

Rated 2.0 Director Mira Nair (with scriptwriters Matthew Faulk, Julian Fellowes and Mark Skeet) takes a hearty shot at William Makepeace Thackeray’s sprawling satirical novel of social manners in Regency England but misses the bull’s-eye. At 137 disjointed minutes, there’s only room for a few paragraphs from each chapter; eventually, Nair and company just shrug and start making stuff up (though they do find time for a couple of Bollywood-style dance numbers). As the charming conniver Becky Sharp, Reese Witherspoon is well-cast, but her accent wobbles between Mayfair and Valley girl. Others do better, especially Eileen Atkins as cranky old Miss Crawley and Rhys Ifans as the noble Dobbin. Costumes and cinematography are sumptuous, but Thackeray’s elegant wit gives way to something bawdier and less subtle.