Thursday, June 20, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing (SIFF 2013) - Movie Review

If you ever find yourself wondering what Joss Whedon does in his spare time when he's not creating hit TV shows or being the mastermind behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, here is your chance to check out one of the "other" things he has done lately. Much Ado About Nothing is a contemporary retelling, with original dialogue, of the classic Shakespeare comedy that features a host of "Whedonverse" family members like Clark Gregg, Amy Acker, and Nathan Fillion.

This story takes place primarily inside the home of Leonato (Gregg) as he turns his house into an alcohol fueled affair between colleagues, friends, enemies, and lovers alike. If you are familiar with the original story, you will be able to follow along pretty easily even as its thrown into a modern setting, but if you have no idea what Much Ado is about...just give it a few minutes and it will draw you right in to what, at first, will seem awkward and unusual, but will quickly become a beautifully hilarious experience you won't soon forget.

Essentially, there are two main storylines, one involving the love, hate relationship between Beatrice (Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and how their friends scheme at putting them together. The other revolves around young lovers Claudio (Fran Kranz) and Hero (Jillian Morgese) as they first fall in love and then fall into the trappings of tragic circumstances that only Mr. Shakespeare could concoct.

Fans of Joss Whedon and his merry band of thespians will be giddy with delight as this rambling mix of cast members from just about every show and movie her has ever done make an appearance at some point. Eve non fans will find themselves hard pressed to not enjoy the antics of Nathan Fillion (known for playing Whedon's lead in the cult sci-fi hit Serenity) and Tom Lenk (played Andrew Wells in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show) as they play Dogberry and Verges, a bumbling pair of detectives reminiscent of the classic keystone cops.

With so much going on and so many characters weaving in and out of the story, I was amazed at how easy it was to keep track of who everyone was and especially while having to pay close attention to the detailed dialog that leaves barely any room for either the actors or the audience to catch their breath. The pacing is very upbeat and you really get a sense of just how much fun these folks had making the movie and its also very apparent how well versed they are in this type of prose.

There are movies out there that are meant to thrill you with bigger and better...well, everything, but sometimes what you want or need is a really, really good movie that you can just get lost in while every single emotion wraps itself around your brain and doesn't let go until its ready to leave you there nearly exhausted from the experience. This is what Shakespeare so brilliantly brought to his stories and those same qualities are what mr. Joss Whedon has so eloquently crafted. While this movie really is Much Ado About Nothing, you will enjoy every single irresistible moment that you spend watching it.

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