DVD Tuesday: ‘Damsels in Distress’

It’s been a long time since the toga-wrapped revolution of Animal House and the whole National Lampoon “slobs vs. snobs” gauntlet toss. Long enough that in Whit Stillman’s long-awaited collegiate farce Damsels in Distress, his lead damsel can intone darkly about how at elite Seven Oaks college, “an atmosphere of male barbarism predominates,” and we are meant to think the better of her for saying it. It’s not that Stillman is trying to get away with some dire, Tom Wolfe-ian jeremiad about declining standards. Instead, he seems to want to upend the school-set comedy with his own brand of highly literate, quasi-conservative thoughtfulness (characters intoning about how much more interesting homosexuality used to be before wider societal acceptance, and so on) and splice it with a crisp and pastel-hued surrealism. It’s Dadaism for the preppie set…

Damsels in Distress is available today on DVD; check it out. My full review is at the AMC Movie Database.

You can see the trailer here:

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