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
The scene in which Benedick does push-ups for Beatrice in an attempt to show off was improvised by Alexis Denisof. Joss Whedon admits that he was hesitant in regards to the gag, but positive audience reaction allayed his fears. See more »
Transposed to an American setting, Joss Whedon's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING proves a highly entertaining romance. The two central characters Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof) begin the film as deadly enemies, but it's clear they're attracted to one another. They are brought together due to a combination of clear-headed thinking and clever machinations by their friends. Denisof is very good with his body; in one sequence he stretches and preens himself in front of Beatrice, much to her disgust. Acker has an equally funny scene where she tries to conceal herself beneath a kitchen unit. The supporting cast are equally good: I particularly liked Clark Gregg's Leonato, concealing a passionate nature beneath a cloak of respectability, and Jillian Morgese's Hero, a well-brought up girl wrongfully accused of adultery. Shot in atmospheric black-and-white in a country house over a period of sixteen days, the film makes wonderful use of light and shade. The verse-speaking is clear and lucid, and the story abundantly clear. I really admired this film; definitely worth a second look.
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