EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (director/writer: Joss Whedon; screenwriter: based on the play by Shakespeare; cinematographer: Jay Hunter; editors: Daniel S. Kaminsky/Joss Whedon; music: Joss Whedon; cast: Amy Acker (Beatrice), Alexis Denisof (Benedick), Nathan Fillion (Dogberry), Fran Kranz (Claudio), Jillian Morgese (Hero), Sean Maher (Don John), Reed Diamond (Don Pedro), Clark Gregg (Leonato), Tom Lenk (Verges); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Kai Cole/Joss Whedon; Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions; 2012)|
|"Though it's not terrible,
neither is it terribly good."
by Dennis Schwartz
Joss Whedon ("The Avengers"/"Serenity") shifts
gears from helming his previous smash hit Hollywood
blockbuster, Marvel's Avengers, to this labor of love
cheapie budget black
and white modern-day version of Shakespeare’s
Much Ado About Nothing, set in a country house in Los
in the director's Santa Monica house). The classic
comedy was shot in 12 days and with an ensemble cast
of Whedon's TV people (mostly from his television series
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), who dressed in suits and
sipped vintage wine throughout. Whedon keeps most of
the Bard's language and the quirky pic, reminiscent of
the 1930s' screwball studio romcoms, with squabbling
lovers, offers a supposedly witty absurdist view of
It didn't work for me, as
it seemed to reduce the Bard's play down to the level
of a TV sitcom and though following the Bard's words
it nevertheless sounded cartoonish, much too glib for
purist Shakespearean ears and ultimately seemed like a
gimmicky pic that tries to get over as high brow art
while investing so little energy.
The cast consists of Fran Kranz as the
repeatedly deceived lovelorn Claudio, who is coupled
virginal Hero (Jillian Morgese). She's the daughter of
the governor Leonato (Clark Gregg). The young couple's chance
of connecting is almost ruined by the cruelty of the schemes of
Don John (Sean Maher). The sparring lovers are
Denisof) and the
sharp-tongued Beatrice (Amy Acker), Hero's cousin. While Nathan Fillion’s dumb cop
Dogberry is around for comic relief.
It's low-key to a fault,
also the screen is filled with schemes, mistaken
identity and deceptions.
Though it's not terrible, neither is it terribly good. Nevertheless I found it more enjoyable than Whedon's popular big-budget film, yet less enjoyable than a straight stage version of the Bard.
REVIEWED ON 7/6/2013 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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