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"Much Ado About Nothing": Joss Whedon's Shakespearean Passion Project 

Wednesday, Jun 5 2013

Pro Tip: To get national theatrical distribution for a black-and-white home movie of your friends doing Shakespeare, try directing the third-highest grossing film of all time. It worked for Joss Whedon, whose Much Ado About Nothing would probably have gone straight to VOD had he not made The Avengers. But whatever brings The Bard to the masses is a good thing, and even if it's not likely to find much traction beyond Whedon's fan base (a highly vocal group that didn't quite have the numbers to make Whedon's Serenity a hit, or to keep Firefly or Dollhouse on the air), they won't be disappointed with Angel alums Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof as Shakespeare's sparring Beatrice and Benedick. To everyone else, Acker and Denisof will come across as very pretty but kind of bland — and, truth be told, they lack both the energy and the nerd-orgasm potential of Doctor Who's David Tennant and Catherine Tate in the 2011 West End production, which is viewable online if you know where to look. But Much Ado About Nothing can't help but be fun (though some modern viewers will probably take umbrage at its Renaissance-era slut-shaming), and it's refreshing to see a Whedon project in which the characters don't all spout Whedon-style zingers. Shakespeare's zingers are still the best.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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