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Much Ado About Nothing

"Much Ado About Nothing" Movie - Pajiba.com Review

Daniel Carlson

Friday 5 July 2013, by Webmaster

Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing succeeds to the degree you’re willing to accept its genial “Let’s put on a show” vibe. Shakespeare’s play is famous for its wit and romance, and Whedon’s skills with both make him a nice fit for the material, but as an actual film, the final product is only somewhat successful. Whedon shot the film in under two weeks at his house and employed a stable of actors he’s used several times over in various TV and film projects, and there’s no doubt he’s got a love for the play. But the film’s execution raises a number of questions that Whedon can’t, or won’t, answer. The action is updated to the present day yet the language is the same as it was 400 years ago. The logistical reasons are clear — it’s cheaper to have your cast wear regular clothes and talk Elizabethan than the other way around — but the narrative ones are never addressed. Similarly, while they play’s conceits could be justified in its original setting, it’s less clear in the film why, say, the villain is allowed to spend so much time milling about with people who have openly avowed their distrust of him. Whedon makes a few nods here and there to modern life (characters have cell phones and luxury sedans), but beyond that, he doesn’t so much update the story as exhume it, pulling it from the tomb of history and dragging it around a Santa Monica estate. It’s a worthy experiment, with all the tension that entails.