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How do you recover from shooting a behemoth like The Avengers? Well, if you’re writer-director Joss Whedon, then you invite some friends over for 12 days and make Much Ado About Nothing.
In this context, Whedon’s infectiously playful adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy is even more endearing. This film is literally homemade, and it’s all the richer for it; as familiar faces from Whedon’s TV shows – Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, and Firefly – romp around the big screen in an eye-wateringly hilarious display of wit and wordplay, with a few pratfalls and commando rolls to boot!
Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof revel in their roles as the Bard’s famously cantankerous lovers Beatrice and Benedick. Their scathing flirtation is balanced by the sweetness of Claudio (Fran Kranz) and his affection for Hero (Jillian Morgese). But when the dastardly Don John (Sean Maher) undermines the marriage of the young pair, all appears lost, until the hapless constable Dogberry (a scene-stealing Nathan Fillion) stumbles upon the truth.
Super-charged with giddy enthusiasm, Whedon’s ensemble brings Shakespeare to life in a riot of boozy passion and slapstick giggles. The dialogue dances across the black-and-white screen with dazzling vibrancy, making Much Ado About Nothing nothing short of sublime.