Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Much Ado About Nothing (2013): Really, Really Something (Mini Review)
Amy Acker as Beatrice and Alexis Denisof as Benedick are perfectly cast as the ex-lovers who have sworn off love. He's a player, she's a shrew, and neither notices they can't stop talking about how much they detest each other. The scenes where friends and family dupe each into believing that the other is secretly in love are classic examples of physical screwball comedy while remaining completely faithful to the original text.
Also especially good is Nathan Fillion (Castle) as Dogberry, a constable who provides security to the rich and powerful. In Fillion's hands, Dogberry is a hilariously understated nincompoop who murders the English language and wants it on the record that he is "an ass."
Known for TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Whedon shot Ado in twelve days while on a break from directing the comic book blockbuster The Avengers. To save money, Whedon set the action in his own house, cast actors from his old television shows, and filmed in black-and-white with a handheld camera. The result is sublime.
Some may struggle with a dark subplot involving a party guest's bout of Othello-like jealousy—blame Shakespeare—but it's handled about as well as it can be, and besides, no matter. What you'll remember is the screwball rom-com between Beatrice and Benedick. These were roles written for Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn three hundred years before they were born, and Acker and Denisof make them their own.
4.5 stars out of 5.