151 user 80 critic

Zero Effect (1998)

0:32 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

The world's greatest detective Daryl Zero aided by his associate Steve Arlo investigates a complex and mysterious case of blackmail and missing keys for shady tycoon Gregory Stark who is less than forthcoming about what is really happening!



1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Comedy writer Jerry Stahl, whose $6000-a-week heroin habit had him taking his infant daughter along on his drug runs and doing smack during TV script conferences. Departing detox, Stahl ... See full summary »

Director: David Veloz
Stars: Ben Stiller, Maria Bello, Jay Paulson
The TV Set (2006)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The story of a TV pilot as it goes through the Network TV process of casting, production and finally airing.

Director: Jake Kasdan
Stars: David Duchovny, Sigourney Weaver, Ioan Gruffudd
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A young man, his wife, and his incompetent case worker travel across country to find his birth parents.

Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Téa Leoni
Orange County (2002)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A guidance counselor mistakenly sends out the wrong transcripts to Stanford University under the name of an over-achieving high schooler.

Director: Jake Kasdan
Stars: Colin Hanks, Jack Black, Schuyler Fisk
Normal Life (1996)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Chris is young idealistic cop who falls in love and gets married to Pam, a beautiful but emotionally unstable woman who suffers from alcoholism and drug addiction. While Chris is trying ... See full summary »

Director: John McNaughton
Stars: Ashley Judd, Luke Perry, Bruce A. Young
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process is tempted to betray it. But there's more to it than that.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Steve Martin, Ben Gazzara, Campbell Scott
Jesus' Son (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young man turns from drug addiction and petty crime to a life redeemed by a discovery of compassion.

Director: Alison Maclean
Stars: Billy Crudup, Robert Michael Kelly, Torben Brooks
Mystery Men (1999)
Action | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A group of inept amateur superheroes must try to save the day when a supervillian threatens to destroy a major superhero and the city.

Director: Kinka Usher
Stars: Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, William H. Macy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

While hunting a cultured, intelligent and vicious psychopath, Inspector Amaldi comes face to face with the physical and moral decay of his city as well as the ghosts of his own past.

Director: Eros Puglielli
Stars: Luigi Lo Cascio, Lucía Jiménez, José Ángel Egido
Suicide Kings (1997)
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A group of youngsters kidnap a respected Mafia figure.

Director: Peter O'Fallon
Stars: Christopher Walken, Denis Leary, Sean Patrick Flanery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A documentary following Terry Gilliam through the creation of "12 Monkeys" (1995)

Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
Stars: Keith Fulton, Dorothea Braemer, Kristi Connors
Zero Effect (TV Movie 2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Director: Jake Kasdan
Stars: Alan Cumming, David Julian Hirsh, Krista Allen


Cast overview, first billed only:
Sarah DeVincentis ...
Michele Mariana ...
Robert Katims ...
Tyrone Henry ...
Staffer #1
Aleta Barthell ...
Staffer #2
Tapp Watkins ...
Wendy Westerwelle ...
Motel Clerk
Lauren Hasson ...
Little Kid


Daryl Zero is a private investigator. Along with his assistant, Steve Arlo he solves impossible crimes and puzzles. Though a master investigator, when he is not working, Zero doesn't know what to do with himself. He has no social skills, writes bad music, and drives Arlo crazy. In his latest case, Zero must find out who is blackmailing a rich executive, and when his client won't tell him, why. The only problem with this case is Zero has done something he's never done before: got emotionally involved. Written by MartianWax

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The world's most private detective.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La méthode zéro  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$434,840 (USA) (30 January 1998)


$1,980,338 (USA) (27 February 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jake Kasdan wrote the part of Daryl Zero specifically for Bill Pullman after meeting the actor on the set of The Accidental Tourist (1988), directed by his father, Lawrence Kasdan. See more »


When Arlo and Stark drive to the restaurant, they pass a Safeway store twice within a few seconds. See more »


[first lines]
Steve Arlo: It's an uncompromising standard of his practice. He never meets any of his clients. He doesn't speak with them, or, for that matter, communicate in any direct fashion. That's his policy. But I am his sole representative and he is my only employer; and as such, I have full authorization to speak on his behalf on all his matters of business. I have with me a signed letter to that effect. He doesn't negotiate his fee. He works at a flat rate. Under some unusual circumstances, he'll ...
See more »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


Mystery Dance
Written and Performed by Elvis Costello
Courtesy of Rykodisc and Demon Records Ltd.
by arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

9 August 1998 | by (Wembley, London, England) – See all my reviews

I loved ZERO EFFECT and would heartily recommend the film to anyone who enjoys a great story told with great style and wit. Jake Kasdan is in his early 20's and has written and directed a wonderful film that belies his age and relative inexperience. I take my hat off to him. On this evidence he is a major talent and I can't wait to see what he does next.

When I heard about the plot of ZERO EFFECT, the story of an eccentric and reclusive, private detective and that this part would be played by Bill Pullman, I was sold on the film immediately. Bill Pullman is a wonderful actor who I admire greatly and is always a joy to watch on screen. The part of Daryl Zero is a very tricky one and very few actors could pull it off, but Bill was simply brilliant. The scene where we hear Daryl playing his guitar and singing a song but don't actually see him for about three minutes was perhaps the most wonderful introduction of a character I've seen in any film.

Ben Stiller provides sterling support as Daryl's right hand man and Ryan O'Neal (nice to see him again) and Kim Dickens are also terrific.

There are so many great lines in the film, particularly those where Daryl is explaining his methods of deduction and surveillance. His explanation of the best way to follow someone is priceless, as is his explanation on how to find things !

This film is a pure joy and very refreshing. Go see it !

28 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Please explain! jland
Best Lines From Film tiddlypum
Chemistry between Ben S and Bill P piry12
The cliche of the needy wife or girlfriend kaustin-9
I have just bought this film! ashleymousetrap
The New Sherlock Holmes Film ? sherlock-37
Discuss Zero Effect (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: