Even though Shakespeare’s short play “Much Ado about Nothing” center around uniting Claudio (Fran Kranz) and Hero (Jillian Morgese) in holy matrimony, it’s their counterparts: Hero’s cousin Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Claudio’s friend Benedick (Alexis Denisof) that has the audience engaged in their courtship and love affair.
Director, writer and music producer Joss Whedon’s contemporary adaptation of the play come with success in his decision to showcase the film in black and white. It instills feeling of nostalgia as an homage to the classic romance film with a bit of detective noir. The film has a touch of elegance taking placing during the summer in which the men are dressed in suits and ties and the women in summer dresses all while staying in a house that seems to have it all.
Centered in Messina, and taking place over the week, the two families gather in which it’s decided that Claudio and Hero should be united. To pursue this plan, Claudio’s father, Don Pedro (Reed Diamond), under guise woos the fair maiden on his behalf. After the blessing of her father, Leonato (Clark Gregg), the match has been made and a wedding must be planned.
But with all plays, there must be the villain with Don Pedro’s brother, John (Sean Maher), who along with his associates try to break up the marriage all in his spite of his brother, which the film does not go into.
Once the plan is revealed, it’s up to the town’s constable, Dogberry (Nathan Fillion) and his colleagues to stop it before ruining the young couple’s lives and the lives of the two families.
The characters in the play find themselves aligning with others in order to play the role of matchmaker for Beatrice and Benedick using false pretenses to get them to reveal their true feelings after uniting Claudio and Hero.
But the joy is watching the supporting characters of Beatrice and Benedict taking center stage. Their war of words and attraction to one another is played off in comedic timing with their willingness to endure the sting of each other’s word but at the same time allow themselves to be emotionally vulnerable to one another. Especially in an emotional scene from Ms. Acker professing her pain and agony due to her limitation of being a woman.
Despite the false pretenses, plots and schemes, the two friends who never saw each other as prospective partners, come to the realizaton in this play that features drama, comedy and romance can be found from its array of characters all under one roof.
Classification: Redbox New Release DVD
Movie Grade: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Joss Whedon has proven that he can tackle big box office action movies and turns around for an independent adaptation of Shakespeare that high school English student will enjoy in a contemporary black and white world with love to color it in.
DVD Grade: 4.5 out of 5 stars:
It includes commentary from the director himself along with the director and the cast of film. A look at how the film started out as a weekly routine amongst close friends reading Shakespeare’s plays to premiering the film.
Rating: PG-13 for some sexuality and brief drug use
Timing: 1 Hour, 49 Minutes
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance.
Director& Writer: Joss Whedon
Play: William Shakespeare
Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Sean Maher with Nathan Fillion.