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Zero Effect
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Reviews & Ratings for
Zero Effect More at IMDbPro »

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25 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Terrific movie

8/10
Author: Tito-8 from North Bay, Ontario
21 April 2000

This was a really pleasant surprise. I didn't know what to expect before watching this film, but what I got was a great movie that featured some really good performances. Stiller and O'Neal are solid, but the always-likeable Bill Pullman is the real standout here. There are lots of great moments in this film, many of them comedic, and except for an occasionally slow pace during the second half, I was greatly entertained throughout. Definitely worth checking out this movie.

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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Very cool...

7/10
Author: the amorphousmachine from Australia
20 September 2000

Bill Pullman is a very underrated actor, and this film he totally steals the show as the reclusive, quirky but 'greatest detective in the world', Daryl Zero. He certainly suited the part in Zero Effect!

Ben Stiller, Ryan O'Neal and Kim Dickens all provide great support in this different but interesting comedy. It had a very good story, some interesting social commentary and observation. Not quite a thriller but for its acute observation, realistic characters and storyline, Ill give this a ***1/2 out of *****!!!

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24 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

9/10
Author: Vince Deehan (vince@deehan.demon.co.uk) from Wembley, London, England
9 August 1998

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 !

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18 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

The world's best detective is hired to find the blackmailer of a wealthy businessman.

9/10
Author: brooksphillip1 from United States
14 April 2006

Excellent story and dialog. Certainly underrated. The film has great performances by Bill Pullman and Kim Dickens, as well as Ben Stiller. This one seems to have gone unnoticed by most people, but it was clever and entertaining. The plot moves and has plenty of twists, but the plot twists are not what makes the film great. The characters and their development are what make this movie unique. Daryl Zero is one of the most memorable private detectives I have ever seen and his relationship with Gloria Sullivan (Kim Dickens) is well developed. Daryl's sidekick, Ben Stiller, is interesting too as his loyalties are tested throughout the film. At first it is difficult to determine how astute Daryl is--is he really the "most observant" person in the world? Or is he a bumbling fake? As the story develops, you see how adept Daryl Zero is. Even the soundtrack is good with a great song by Nick Cave.

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22 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

One of the best "detective comedies" ever.

Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
22 March 2000

As soon as the "Zero Effect" finished, my wife and I turned to each other and said, "that's one of the best movies we've seen." Bill Pullman shows why he is one of the best, if often overlooked, actors. He plays the very private detective Daryl Zero who is uncannily insightful on the job, but otherwise is a mess. We laughed so hard at times that we had tears in our eyes. And it isn't just funny - there is a very well-woven story involving murder and blackmail.

For its cleerness, acting, story, and directing, I give it a solid "9" of "10", and one of my all-time favorites.

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22 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

A great movie, but credit is due to Doyle.

7/10
Author: fossergrim-1 from United States
13 April 2005

OK, I thought this was an excellent movie. Having said that, where is the credit to Arthur Conan Doyle? When movies are based on the works of Shakespeare, such as modern day versions of Hamlet and Macbeth they always credit Shakespeares works.

Compare Zero Effect to A Scandal in Bohemia.

Compare the character Zero to Holmes: 1. both use drugs 2. both play a musical instrument 3. both apply astounding powers of observation to solve cases 4. both use disguises 5. both are loners who rely on their intermediaries (Watson/Arlo)

In Zero Effect, Arlo deals with conflicts between his romantic life and Zero's need of him to function. In A Scandal In Bohemia, Watson has recently married and Holmes and Waston must deal with the issue.

The first line of A Scandal In Bohemia reads: "To Sherlock Holmes she is always THE woman."

Guess what, in the end Sherlock doesn't get the girl and he admires her as his most capable adversary. I guess Doyle must have a copy of Zero Effect stashed away somewhere.

Again, I will say I thought is was a fantastic movie. I'm not always a big fan of Pullman, but he was excellent in the role. If you are considering not watching this movie because you don't like Ben Stiller, well don't let that stop you. He takes his normal persona down a couple notches. Don't expect to see any traces of Zoolander or Meet the Parents.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Oh, yeah, BABY!!!

10/10
Author: Sober-3 from Ames, Iowa
16 February 1999

A brilliant film!! Bill Pullman finally steps out of the Spaceballs/Independence Day cloud and proves he's got the acting chops. Kasdan's script is AMAZING, and his directorial style only adds to the greatness of this flick. Stiller turns in his usual unique comic performance with a more laid-back feel, and the remainder of the cast (Kim Dickens particularly) compliments Pullman perfectly. Why didn't this get any Oscar nods?

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Who is this Guy Anyway?

10/10
Author: dataconflossmoor from United States
23 November 2007

The cast in this movie is well thought out!! Bill Pullman plays Detective Daryl Zero, and he is a consortium of unorthodox emotions!! Your initial perception of him being one whereby he is an amphetamine freak, who chants like a castrated country rock singer, and drinks 68 cans of Tab in a single day!! Concocting irrational conclusions for everything is Daryl Zero's favorite hobby, and, all of his ersatz proclivities, which unalterably require a necessary detachment, are peculiar enough to put him in either Belvue or Believe it or Not!! He can astutely characterize a white collar criminal, and speak six different languages, yet, he is incapable of filling out a tax form!! With regard to something or someone being hazardous, Daryl Zero should come with a personalized warning label which reads: Compared to this guy, arsenic seems like an innocuous and palatable beverage!!

The movie starts off with Gregory Stark, (Ryan O'Neal) who is the anonymously wealthy guy. Stark has now become the aggrieved recipient of blackmail!! Steve Arlo, (Ben Stiller) plays Detective Zero's business manager, Steve (Ben Stiller) manufactures a mystique about Detective Zero through a bastardized affidavit containing a bevy of counter culture mannerisms!! Arlo (Ben Stiller) presents a cogent case to Gregory Stark (Ryan O'Neal) that Daryl Zero's doggerel of accomplishments consists of numerous radical approaches and techniques which serve as a means of being the most effective method to "cracking the case"!! Desperate and annoyed by pecuniary depletion from a petty (yet stinging) series of blackmail tactics,Gregory Stark (Ryan O'Neal) is ready to give way to the unconventional!!! Consummation of this deal opens up the floodgates for an onslaught of nuances to surface which everyone in the movie becomes besieged with.. Daryl Zero's prescience is profound in his ability at pinpointing the perpetrator to this blackmail crime!! This film provides a precarious pontification to many different ideological premises for all parties concerned!! More importantly, it should be established that the trivial details and innate intricacies of everyone's sordid human nature, are far more significant to the plot of this movie, than the overall complications which pertain to this film's resonating end results!! The two OB's; observation and objectivity, guide Detective Zero in the direction of satiating his desires to resolve everything... This acute homogenization of deductive logic is what is referred to in this film as the "Zero Effect"!!

This movie is loaded with talent, the writing is particularly well thought out, and the innovative genre to this film makes it intellectually gratifying to watch!!! All is well, but ends well, however, it is not manifested in the proverbially neon accented format that people are accustomed to when viewing a film with a happy ending.. Everyone's aggravated afflictions are related to their environment, and, Detective Zero's concluding jeremiad, which establishes a mandatory closure on the whole blackmail issue, winds up getting categorized accordingly!! That being said, let's put it behind us, it's over, so why not just go sky diving, or attend someone's funeral or something!! Extremely well made film. It is Crazy with a capital "C". I am very glad that I saw it!!!

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly Emotionally Effective. 9/10

9/10
Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
22 February 2001

A lot can be said about the superb writing that this film contains. It is also very well acted. But one thing that has always shocked me is just how emotionally involving it is. Darryl Zero's budding relationship with the woman, Kim Dickens, is so well written and acted that I believed every moment of it. Kim Dickens' character goes through some very difficult situations, and they all work. Ben Stiller's problems ring true, also. And I'd like to point out that his girlfriend is the woman Bruce Campbell has to defend in S-Mart at the end of Army of Darkness.

There are only a couple of criticisms I have of the film. The first ten or fifteen minutes seem to contain an entirely different style of comedy than the rest of the film. With Darryl Zero's horrendous guitar stylings and fridge full of TAB and tuna, I expected it to be an off-the-wall comedy or spoof of a detective film or something. The first time I saw the film, I was told how funny it was, and after I saw the ridiculous first ten minutes or so, I was constantly expecting the film to use slapstick and other such jokes. The film is funny, but if you go in expecting a comedy, or only a comedy, anyways, you're going to miss the emotional cues. Also, some of the discoveries and some of the trivia that Darryl Zero exhibits is a bit ridiculous. I mean, Sherlock Holmes, who was actually based on a real person, a college professor at Oxford, I believe, had amazing powers of deduction, but not even he could guess which bus Kim Dickens was going to tell her victim to get on. And I would also think that someone who does have the abilities that Darryl Zero supposedly has would never make up a job and tell that to one person, and forget that job and make a new one to give to someone else who frequents the same place as the first one!

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Not to be overlooked

10/10
Author: Sean Gallagher (seankgallagher@yahoo.com) from Brooklyn, NY
2 February 1999

I didn't see this in theaters because most critics up here were dismissive of it, so I checked it out when it hit video and what I wanted wasn't available. I should have ignored the critics. Even if, like me, you're not well versed in Sherlock Holmes (which this film is inspired by), you should enjoy this movie. Bill Pullman is wonderful as Daryl Zero, who lives his professional life by the two "obs; observation and objectivity." He's quirky without being overly eccentric, and he's very believable and touching. Ben Stiller is a nice foil as his front man. Kim Dickens proves after PALOOKAVILLE and this that she's a talent to watch. I even liked Ryan O'Neal, whom I'm not a fan of. I'm definitely looking forward to Jake Kasdan's next film; he looks like he may be as talented as his father.

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