Leonato (Clark Gregg), the governor of Messina, is visited by his friend Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) who is returning from a victorious campaign against his rebellious brother Don John (Sean Maher). Accompanying Don Pedro are two of his officers: Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Claudio (Fran Kranz). While in Messina, Claudio falls for Leonato's daughter Hero (Jillian Morgese), while Benedick verbally spars with Beatrice (Amy Acker), the governor's niece. The budding love between Claudio and Hero prompts Don Pedro to arrange with Leonato for a marriage. In the days leading up to the ceremony, Don Pedro, with the help of Leonato, Claudio and Hero, attempts to sport with Benedick and Beatrice in an effort to trick the two into falling in love. Meanwhile, the villainous Don John, with the help of his allies Conrade (Riki Lindhome) and Borachio (Spencer Treat Clark), plots against the happy couple, using his own form of trickery to try to destroy the marriage before it begins. A series of comic... Written by
I really didn't like this version. Much Ado must be my favorite of Shakespeare's texts, and I saw a tremendous potential in a modern transposition. Sadly, it is poorly treated. Benedict and Beatrice sound like a pair of bickering, sourpuss ex spouses, rather than the witty, smart, fun pair they should be (how sorely I missed Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson!); "Sicily" is more like a California backwater, with CA plates on cars (barely out of focus) and large American style kitchen; one cannot just pretend that pouring rivers of red wine in all glasses starting at breakfast and filming in black and white will achieve Italian realism.
Adherence to the original text is great, and I really appreciate it, but it require an acting tour de force the cast did not stand up to. It feels artificial, and all the fun is gone.
One great scene, not sufficient to redeem the whole movie: the extravagant masked party, that comes together apparently effortlessly, and looks magnificent.
Sad. I didn't even stay until the end.
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