HOME VIDEO: Much Ado About Nothing

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BY JENNA SIMPSON

I have a confession: I’ve never paid much attention to Joss Whedon. I know, I know — he’s practically a god to his fans. And how can I claim any feminist pop culture cred without having seen every episode of Buffy multiple times, or Firefly, or whatever else he’s done? It is, admittedly, a gap in my pop cultural education. One day — probably over a midwinter holiday or a period of protracted procrastination — I will catch up on all of that stuff, and I will truly know the genius of Whedon.

Sadly, if Much Ado About Nothing is the only thing I have to judge Whedon on,  I will need all those episodes of Buffy and Firefly and whatever else he’s done to win me over to his supposed genius. The trailer for Much Ado was hip, slick and fun. I was very excited to see it, but it passed me by in theatres. But when I finally got to it after the DVD release, I actually found it a bit boring. It looked great, the acting was just fine and I’m always a fan of contemporary interpretations of Shakespeare keeping the original dialogue (see Romeo + Juliet), but frankly, Much Ado was a little on the dull side.

Maybe the story just didn’t really translate into a modern setting for me. The idea that in this day and age two people could be utterly fooled by their friends into falling in love based on false gossip seems a bit too naive for our modern online dating/hookup culture. And the idea that two people could fall madly in love after meeting one another for less than five minutes and agree to marry within a couple of days is sheer lunacy. Have we learned nothing from watching Britney Spears over the years? That kind of thing never works out!

So ultimately, I guess Whedon’s interpretation of Much Ado About Nothing didn’t really work for me. Some might find it refreshing, or charming, but I found it just a bit hollow. Maybe I’m just a cynic! Romantics, let me know what you thought in the comments; maybe you’d like it better.

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