Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Who else but Joss Whedon could pull this off?
Not only does he set William Shakespeare's romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, original Elizabethan-era wit and wordplay intact, in modern-day Santa Monica, he shoots it in black-and-white—a visual detail that suggests the sparkling vintage screwball comedies of the 1930s more than the Elizabethan stage.
It's an impudent idea for a movie realized with great charm and affection by a master craftsman and his devoted repertory company of players.
Much Ado is something completely different; a project that as been dear to his heart for a long time, it was shot in just 12 days, using Whedon's own Santa Monica home and its grounds as the principal set. The immediacy of this shooting process only helps to remind us how timeless and timely Shakespearean stories can be.
Not that you need to know the play to enjoy the film. The central story of a bantering couple too busy flinging defensive witticisms at each other to realize they're in love is prime romantic comedy fodder in any era.
That would be Benedick and Beatrice, here played con brio by Alex Denisof and Amy Acker. They are not only funny as hell, but they bring emotional urgency to the perilous ebb and giddy flow of their thoroughly modern romance. (Read more)
Btw, I like Whedon's smart idea that Beatrice and Benedick have already been bedmates. But, in typical modern fashion, sex doesn't necessarily mean they've yet learned to value each other. It just gives the tension between them a little extra sizzle!