Much Ado About Nothing

"Good"

Much Ado About Nothing Review


This new version of Shakespeare's romantic farce looks like it was shot on video in the filmmaker's house with his friends over the course of about two weeks, which is exactly the case. It's lively and funny, and occasionally also warm and emotional, but the uneven tone never quite comes together to bring out the passion in the characters. An enjoyable experiment, the film keeps us entertained but refuses to spring to life.

Set in present-day suburbia, the story opens as Don Pedro (Diamond) and his henchmen Benedick and Claudio (Denisof and Kranz) deliver rival gang leader Don John (Maher) to his mob boss brother Leonato (Gregg). A confirmed bachelor, Benedick continues his verbal sparring with Leonato's feisty love-rejecting daughter Beatrice (Acker), while Claudio seeks help in wooing her sweet cousin Hero (Morgese). But Leonato decides to have some fun here, tricking Benedick and Beatrice into falling in love with each other. Meanwhile, the imprisoned Don John is plotting to destroy his brother, while a bumbling detective (Fillion) tries to figure out what's up.

Filmmaker Whedon assembles his cast from actors he worked with in everything from Buffy to The Avengers, creating a loose, relaxed atmosphere that makes the film easy to watch, even though it's in black and white and is spoken in Shakespearean dialect. On the other hand, this kind of mutes the play's romantic highs and tragic lows, evening everything out into a gentle comedy of manners with slapstick touches. Part of the problem is that, if you're unfamiliar with these actors, it's not easy to tell them apart as they are dressed in identical black suits. But the cast is excellent, delivering the dialog with off-handed precision.

Denisof and Acker are especially enjoyable as the spiky, over-confident Benedick and Beatrice, unknowingly manipulated into romance even as they continue to insult each other hilariously. By contrast, Fillion's haplessly silly cop and Maher's conniving villain feel like they come from completely different films. But in Shakespeare's play, these intertwined strands all gel together remarkably, making the sassy barbed dialog fit with dark humiliations and even murder. Here it's rather a lot more uneven, but it's still worth seeing for its inventive simplicity.

 

Rich Cline



Much Ado About Nothing

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd July 1993

Distributed by: Screenvision

Production compaines: Renaissance Films, American Playhouse Theatrical Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Benedikt, as Signor Leonato, as Dogberry, as Claudio, as Don Juan, as Beatrice, as Don Pedro of Aragon, as Hero, Jimmy Yuill as Friar Francis, as Antonio, as Ursula, as Margaret

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.