Much Ado About Nothing
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Its off-the-cuff nature makes for a film that is not flawless – the music is a bit daft, and some of the acting a little too “large” for the intimate setting – but is, from beginning to end, delightful.
New York Magazine (Vulture)
The movie’s singular acting triumph is Nathan Fillion’s Constable Dogberry, one of Shakespeare’s simpler buffoons made poetic by understatement. Fillion speaks softly, with uninflected sincerity, a brilliant departure from the standard gregarious-hambone Dogberry. It’s his insularity — his imperviousness to the interjections of more observant people — that makes him such a touchingly credible clown.
But Whedon's key coup is in simply directing a very good version of the play. He's got a keen ear for comedy, a no-nonsense approach to ditching the gags that don't work, a deft hand for slapstick and an eagerness to use it.
The Hollywood Reporter
More than most adaptations, this is a film true to Shakespeare's practice of employing all means at hand to keep the crowd entertained.
With its interrogations of gender, feminism, and marriage, Shakespeare's comedy is an apt vehicle for Whedon's own storytelling agenda.
This tiny friends-and-family production has the vibe of a project done on weekends and after school. That’s no knock. It is vibrant and bubbly and just clever enough to engage people who wouldn’t normally watch a black-and-white micro-budget Shakespeare adaptation without any big movie stars.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
A winking comedy with dark underpinnings and some of Shakespeare’s most wicked wordplay.
The movie feels like too much of a lark. To paraphrase the play’s voice of reason, Friar Francis, it would be better if Whedon paused awhile and let his counsel sway us more.
Call it a Shakespearean catharsis or just call it a lark -- either way, the movie represents Whedon's least essential work, regardless of the material's inherent comedic inspiration.
The film is nothing without the physicality of the performers, as Joss Whedon's script handles the transition of Shakespeare's language to modern day indifferently.
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