Much Ado About Nothing

June 17, 2013 at 10:33 am | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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Spoiler alert: it ends with a wedding.  Which, if you are up on Shakespearean comedies, may not come as much of a surprise or, for that matter, even if you know nothing about Shakespeare, this plot arc is not exactly a cliff hanger.  In fact, it is always a bit funny to me how a contemporary take on Shakespearean comedies points out the plot absurdities, such as going from hate to love in a single soliloquy.  That said, these actors know the work and know how to have fun with it and rarely have I had as much fun in a Shakespearean film.  Joss Whedon has made a career out of appealing to Gen-Xers with his slyly comedic take on classic genres, think “The Avengers,” “Cabin in the Woods,” “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.”  So, it’s nice to see him take comedy head on.  The whole movie is filmed in the his own home and, apparently, the ample drinking seen on screen is absolutely real.  This familial atmosphere is added to by the fact that he fills the cast with old friends from “Buffy,” “Angel,” “Dollhouse,” “Firefly” and “The Avengers.”  Fortunately, the film does not suffer for having relatively unknown TV actors in major roles and Whedon fans clearly loved it; a woman in my audience threw her arms up in the air and let out a whoop when Nathan Fillion appeared on screen.  Fillion, in fact, stole the show with his fantastic take on the slapstick character, Dogberry.  Whedon cleverly found ways to weave in contemporary laughs for the audience, the best one coming near the end of the film around the use of the term “Ethiop.”  Brilliant.  Whedon’s brother does the musical score and, in a genius move, includes actual words from the play into the two songs with lyrics.  I am not sure why the film is in black and white as this did not seem to add anything but didn’t detract either.    Whether or not you are a fan of Shakespeare (or Whedon), there are enough pleasures in this film to go around.

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