Much to Love About Whedon's Much Ado

Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof star in Shakespeare comedy
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2013 8:30 AM CDT

Between filming and post-production for The Avengers, Joss Whedon took a brief break—to film another movie. The result is the tiny-budgeted Much Ado About Nothing, shot at Whedon's own house with a digital camera over 12 days. Despite, or perhaps because of, the project's simplicity, critics are charmed:

  • In the New York Times, AO Scott calls the film "perhaps the liveliest and most purely delightful movie I have seen so far this year." It "draws out the essential screwball nature of Shakespeare’s comedy," and is actually "a better vehicle for Mr. Whedon’s sensibilities" than today's superhero movies are.

  • Dana Stevens offers more praise at Slate: "If you were approaching the Whedonization of Shakespeare with trepidation, go ahead and convert all your songs of woe into hey-nonny-nonny," she writes, "because this Much Ado About Nothing—while perhaps not an adaptation for the ages in every respect—is as bracingly effervescent as picnic champagne."
  • It may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it's certainly enjoyable, notes Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. "Good-humored and unpretentious in equal measure," it's "a small but savory treat for Shakespeare-starved audiences."
  • In the New York Post, Lou Lumenick sees the movie as "a minor miracle—the first filmed Shakespeare comedy in decades that’s actually funny." It's an "unabashed crowd-pleaser" and "the anthesis of the star-filled but leaden Bard comedies" of Kenneth Branagh.
(Read more Joss Whedon stories.)

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