Much Ado About Nothing: Shakespeare Knows How to Throw a Party (2013)

Posted: June 30, 2013 in Comedy, Drama, Romance
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muchadoaboutnothing88888Upon the end of a victorious campaign against his rebellious brother, Don Pedro arrives at the home of the Leonato. Upon first gaze of Leonato’s daughter, Officer Claudio falls in love and seeks to find out if she returns the favor. Don Pedro schemes to discover her feelings and the group discovers that a wedding is soon to happen. With the smell of love in the air, Beatice and Benedick seem to be the only two who are resistant to each other, so the rest of the group attempts to trick them into love. While the wedding inches closer, Don John plans to destroy the happy tidings with his own scheme to poison the mind of Claudio. As the plans all start to intermingle, the strong-headed Dogberry seeks to find who is responsible for the threats to the happiness at Leonato’s place.

Starring: Amy Acker (Beatrice), Alexis Denisof (Benedick), Nathan Fillion (Dogberry), Clark Gregg (Leonato), Reed Diamond (Don Pedro), Fran Kranz (Claudio), Jillian Morgese (Hero), Sean Maher (Don John), Spencer Treat Clark (Borachio), Riki Lindhome (Conrade), Ashley Johnson (Margaret), Emma Bates (Ursula), Tom Lenk (Verges)

This was truly an all-star cast for an adaption of a Shakespearian comedy, headed by the talent Acker and Denisof. The pair have all of the chemistry of their previous roles together with the added charm of the 16th century dialogue. Kranz and Morgese have their own on-screen romance, though it does not shine as strongly as the main pair. Fillion and Gregg provide their own brand of comedy with the focus on the more ridiculous. Maher is able to really play the role of the villain.

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There were probably few people who could bring this story into the 21st century other than Joss Whedon. With the original tale being about a prince, a wedding and an attempt at a love match, all of the key elements were maintained while changing the context. Whedon used only the original play script for the dialogue, which made scenes like those in the kids’ bedroom and the kitchen seem that much more quirky with their contrast. Scenes, like the attempts to foster interest between Beatrice and Benedick, just have a magic to them that really played well with this cast. Comedy was the true theme of the presentation and this was the perfect mixture of charm, grace and physical comedy.

nathanfillion frankranz clarkgregg

Major critics of this film have trouble with the lack of cohesiveness of the original play with the 21st century Pasadena twist. Admittedly, it was difficult to put some of the elements of the film that were in contrast into a meaning context. Talk of princes and wars with high society in Pasadena was definitely out of place, but that was meant to be part of the charm of the film. Whedon was going for a strange mixture of the two worlds as part of the enjoyment of the presentation, as clearly displayed by the periodic subtle jabs at the awkwardness of the blending of Shakespeare and modern-day living.

While this is a film that may not win awards and will ultimately go unnoticed by many, it is just like so many other creations by Whedon that are misunderstood and underappreciated.

Dan’s Rating: 4.0/5

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