Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing is a treat for fans of Buffy and Shakespeare alike | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing is a treat for fans of Buffy and Shakespeare alike 

Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof in "Much Ado About Nothing"

Photo by Elsa Guillet-Chapuis

Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof in "Much Ado About Nothing"

Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare's romantic battle of wits, is the template for pretty much every Hollywood romcom: The feuding lovers, supportive pals and sabotaging frenemies are instantly recognizable.

Joss Whedon's vanity project/summer tent-pole detox, filmed in black and white, in his own Santa Monica house over the course of two weeks with a bunch of his actor friends in midst of The Avengers shooting schedule, should be a disaster. Instead, it is intimate, casual and sexy. Set at a tipsy California house party, there may be coat and tie instead of princely raiment, but the backstabbing is all too familiar in this Hollywood-ish setting.

The update carries all the hallmarks of Whedon's trademark playful slyness: Verse is recited in a repurposed child's bedroom, in front of Barbie's Dreamhouse, and there's always a bottle of wine and plate of canapés handy to keep the conversation flowing. Whedon veterans Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof are charming as Beatrice and Benedick, while the comic turn of Nathan Fillion (Firefly) as Constable Dogberry becomes a parody of the TV police procedural.

But the real strength of Whedon's version are the actors playing the parts that are usually overlooked, Clark Gregg as Leonato, Fran Kranz as Claudio and the mild-mannered Sean Maher as the evil Don John. The ensemble speaks in an understated, conversational way, and one immediately become accustomed to the archaic rhythms and vocabulary of dialogue penned more than 400 years ago. This flippantly delightful film should be shared with every high school literature class, in spite of a bit of groping and weed smoking.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Little criminals."

Film Details

Much Ado About Nothing
Rated PG-13 · 109 min. · 2013
Official Site: www.muchadothemovie.com
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: William Shakespeare
Producer: Kai Cole and Joss Whedon
Cast: Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Amy Acker, Ashley Johnson, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher, Riki Lindhome, Spencer Treat Clark and Reed Diamond

Trailer


Now Playing

Much Ado About Nothing is not showing in any theaters in the area.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

It is a very good film.I really liked it.The film is visual treat to the audience.Suraj Sharma nailed the role …

by Fermin Johnson on Life of Pi is a touching fable (Film Review)

Much as I hate to be that guy, I must nonetheless point out a minor error in your review. The …

by Just Another Malcontent on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Is an Alternately Respectful and Baffling Parable About Japan (Film Review)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

It is a very good film.I really liked it.The film is visual treat to the audience.Suraj Sharma nailed the role …

by Fermin Johnson on Life of Pi is a touching fable (Film Review)

Much as I hate to be that guy, I must nonetheless point out a minor error in your review. The …

by Just Another Malcontent on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Is an Alternately Respectful and Baffling Parable About Japan (Film Review)

I loved the movie but I'm curious about the Japanese version. Will it be translated or subtitled? I assume they …

by Neil Robertson on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Is an Alternately Respectful and Baffling Parable About Japan (Film Review)

Lurid and Trashy? Clint Eastwood is a true pioneer of cinema-in front of the camera and in the directors chair.For …

by jde on In Her Remake of Clint Eastwood's Lurid, Trashy The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola Probes Deeper Rhythms (Film Review)

Americans are really good at watching movies and everyone knows that they spend a lot of money on watching them, …

by Anil Sharma on The Average American Sees Five Thousand Movies in a Lifetime. Half of Them Come Out This Week. (Film Review)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation