Joss Whedon’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s most popular comedy is bright, witty, and bursting with ideas, so why shouldn’t it be satisfied with itself? The setting is a formidable house in contemporary times (filmed at Whedon’s Santa Monica home), where suited, limo-driven government types strut and fret while amusing themselves with the foibles of two pairs of would-be lovers: Claudio and Hero (Fran Kanz and Jillian Morgese) and the bickering Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Beatrice (Amy Acker). B&B steal the show – Denisof particularly – with fine support by Nathan Fillion as Dogberry the comic constable, Clark Gregg as Leonato the host, and Sean Maher as the unscrupulous Don John. If we’re to believe the publicity, Whedon’s Much Ado
is a by-product of the writer-director’s habit of getting his stock players – most of whom these are – to read Shakespeare for fun. Talk about conspicuous consumption. (109 min.)
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Nothing is everything.