C.K. Dexter-Haven, a successful popular jazz musician, lives in a mansion near his ex-wife's Tracy Lord's family estate. She is on the verge of marrying a man blander and safer than Dex, ... See full summary »
Fred and Lilly are a divorced pair of actors who are brought together by Cole Porter who has written a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew. Of course, the couple seem to act a great ... See full summary »
This movie is an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta of the same name, with parts of other of their operettas stirred in. Frederick has fallen in love with sweet innocent ... See full summary »
The King of Navarre and his three companions swear a very public oath to study together and to renounce women for three years. Their honour is immediately put to the test by the arrival of the Princess of France and her three lovely companions. It's love at first sight for all concerned followed by the men's highly entertaining but hopeless efforts to disguise their feelings. Written by
If my observation, which very seldom lies by the heart's still rhetoric disclosed with eyes, deceived me not now, Navarre is infected.
With that which we lovers entitle affected.
His face's own margin did quote such amazes that all eyes saw his eyes enchanted with gazes. I'll give you Aquitaine, and all that is his, an you give him for my sake but one loving kiss.
Come, to our pavilion. Boyet is disposed.
But to speak that in words which his eyes hath disclosed. I only ...
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Boy, Kenneth Branagh will try anything, won't he? Even infusing Shakespeare's comedy with a string of Gershwin-era songs and dances. But while his Much Ado About Nothing was a frothy, wonderful gem, Love's Labour's Lost . . . just didn't quite work. It's a noble try, though.
Whether the concept itself is flawed is up for debate. (Surely some Shakespeare purists were up in arms when this came out!) What cannot be argued, however, is that Branagh's cast is unable to pull this off. They simply are trying to hard at what should come naturally, and the audience can't help but notice. His direction also sinks the film at various points, and as a result, the film jerks from scene to scene, from song to song, ultimately culminating in a collection of bits that never gel into a unified whole.
That's not to say that the movie doesn't have its strengths. There is a sense of fun that pervades the film which is quite pleasant. The costumes and art direction are appropriately light and beautiful, and some of the comedy moments are quite fun. Each actor also has his or her strength. Alessandro Nivola (Laurel Canyon, Mansfield Park) is the best singer, Adrian Lester (Primary Colors) the best dancer, Branagh the best actor, and Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo) . . . sure is tall. The supporting cast (Nathan Lane, Alicia Silverstone, Emily Mortimer, et. al.) each do their best to rise above the film's shortcomings, as well.
Ultimately, the audience ends up really trying to like this movie, but the flaws are too great to dismiss. 6/10 stars.
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