||A fine cast makes sure Noel Coward's champagne remains bubbly in "Easy Virtue," an effervescent entertainment that marks a welcome return for "Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" director Stephan Elliott after a nine-year absence. This peppy Ealing Studios offering may have trouble asserting itself in a market that increasingly demands must-see credentials, but with Jessica Biel more than keeping up with such British stalwarts as Kristin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth at snapping out the tasty dialogue, the pic could yet cultivate an audience among those who go for pictures with a smart English pedigree...For several years it has been clear that Biel is one of the great, beautiful babes of her generation. But if her abilities as a spirited, sharp-witted comedienne with a smart sense of timing had not frequently been demonstrated, it's only because she had seldom been asked to display them. As an adventurous American auto racer confronted with ferocious disapproval from her new English husband's snobbish family in the mid-1920s, Biel sparkles in this fun second film version of Coward's play, after Alfred Hitchcock's melodramatic, and much reworked, 1927 silent version...A running visual metaphor equating the enormous number of dead animals adorning the estate with the rot of the specific social setting sums up Elliott's p.o.v., but remains in the background of the lively repartee, which may only occasionally be hilarious, but is always barbed and well spoken. Scott Thomas gets the lion's share of the savage quips, and sneers them impeccably, even as one eventually comes to understand, if not sympathize with, her reasons for ostracizing Larita. The daughters are amusingly awful creatures, while a sensible neighbor friend, Sarah (Charlotte Riley), who's a more proper mate for John, is portrayed in an agreeably generous light...Elliott whisks things along at a fast but not frantic pace, and brings it all to the finish line in a fleet 96 minutes. A mild choppiness in the early stretch quickly subsides. The helmer mixes five Coward tunes, as well as three Cole Porter standards, into the busy soundtrack, along with other music new and old; the result is a bit slapdash, but effective overall. Set in slowly tattering luxury, the film boasts bright production values.