Friday, May 2, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing: John Mutford's 2nd Pick For The Shakespeare Challenge

Of all the movie genres, I probably dislike romantic comedies the most. It's not a guy thing; I'm not opposed to love stories. However, romantic comedies tend to have an unbelievable love story and typically aren't funny. Yes, I can think of a few exceptions, but even those can't convince me to even consider going to see Made of Honor and the like.

Much Ado About Nothing was almost doomed from the get-go. And before you Shakespeare goons start with the "the man was a genius" argument, I'll quickly point out the mistaken identities, the eavesdropping, and the faked death near the end of this play. I hate to always come back to Three's Company when I refer to ridiculous situations, but again, it felt like such an episode.

But since I actually enjoyed Three's Company, I questioned why Much Ado About Nothing wasn't doing it for me. Was it too over the top? Perhaps. But then his tragedies are pretty over the top, and I like those. When half a cast is wiped out with brutal murders and suicides, it's really no more authentic than Don Pedro dressing up at a masquerade ball, pretending to be Claudio, and wooing Hero on his behalf.

Eventually I came around on it a little. It was a farce. It was entertaining. The love-hate chemistry of Benedick and Beatrice was good for a few witty chuckles. However, it still felt like Shakespeare just didn't seem to put the same care into this one. Most of the characters (except for the aforementioned Beatrice and Benedick) were flat and unconvincing. Hardly any time was spent on their motivations and some of the cast, such as Don Pedro and Claudio, seemed virtually indistinguishable from one another. Contrast this to the soul searching Hamlet or the guilt-ridden Macbeth. Or perhaps I just need a bit of blood-- maybe it is a guy thing after all.

The Soundtrack:
1. (You're The Devil) In Disguise- Elvis Presley
2. Jigs: Eavesdropper's/Both Meat and Drink/Off We Go- Great Big Sea
3. Your Cheatin' Heart- Hank Williams
4. I Hope I Don't Fall In Love With You- Tom Waits
5. It All Turns To Gold- Popa Chubby

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