Monday, June 10, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing," filmed (between other projects) in less than two weeks at his palatial Westside estate and starring friends who've appeared in other productions of his, has the feeling - for better and worse - of a one-off throwaway. It's for worse in that you'll forget this picture about an hour after you see it, but it's for better in that it well suits the play, among the frothiest and most minor trifles in the Shakespeare canon. The movie belongs to Amy Acker as Beatrice. She bears a resemblance to Rebecca Hall and brings some of the same lightness and wit to Beatrice's weariness (and wariness) of the male of the species as Hall brought to "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." Her interplay with Alexis Denisof's Benedick is the best thing about this version, which also gets a few slapstick laughs out of Nathan Fillion's Dogberry. But at just under two hours, it drags, and while almost anything in black and white gets called "lush," this black and white isn't lush; it's cheap and detracts from a bauble that should be colorful and vernal.

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