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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 5.56%
Average: 33.33%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 6 user ratings

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Much Ado
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by Chris Parry

"A little cliquey, a little funny, no cash, but some great performances."
3 stars

There are a lot of people out there with a great sense of humor, who really should, by rights, be earning a living doing the kind of work that far too many untalented writers are presently doing. I mean, think about your average Hollywood film - specifically the dialogue. It's awful, unnatural, simple, non-conversational, uninteresting - all it does it progress characters from Point A to Point B and beyond. Then along comes someone who isn't in the big budget cheesemaking industry, someone who maybe has a few friends who also know their comedy, and they make a little film that knocks you out of your shoes not because it's ground-breaking, but because you begin to realize how much unadulterated shit you're watching on a day to day basis. Much Ado was fun... now try to convince me that the last three Ashton Kutcher movies can boast the same thing.

The tagline of Much Ado is as smart as anything else in the movie: She Wanted To Do Shakespeare... Then The Clowns Showed Up. It perfectly encapsulates the film at hand and gives you enough info on what's to come so as to allow you to head for the exit if you're, I dunno, afraid of clowns?

Valerie (Kendra Munger) is an indie film producer with no budget, no distributor, and a group of friends who gather every now and then to make movies. This is important because her friends have just gathered to make a movie. And her director just quit. And her friends are all psychotic.

Enter Digby (Jon Mullen), an award-winning director who has been subbed in at the zero hour to help out. Only problem is, Digby's an artist. An artist with a thing for men in chicken suits, clowns and cheese logs. So as the cast, crew and producer argue, flirt and kid around, what was going to be a straight Shakespearian flick somehow warps into a weird, experimental piece that nobody quite understands. What's more, all of these people are so self-obsessed that nobody really cares whether what they're doing makes any sense. All they want is more screen time, more humping time (with the universally-adored Hanna (Daiva Deupree), and career advancement - one way or another.

Scattered throughout Much Ado is a real mix of fantastic smart humor, really very average humor, and really very bad humor. Thankfully, there's more of the former than the latter, but you get the impression that some of the thuds felt very much hilarious to those making the film, possibly because the friendships shown on screen are shared among them in reality. The film at times feels cliquey, like you've been brought to a party where everyone knopws everyone and you're spending the afternoon in the kitchen making small talk with the loud guy that nobody ever listens to (who won't leave you alone because you're such a good listener). Characterization build-up is short, backgrounds are minimal, and the storyline is almost secondary to the loose and fast dialogue.

"Who's the best actor in the world," asks one of the cast as he twists the arm of another actor behind his back. "David Hasselhoff" comes the reply, before another twist elicits "the fat guy from 21 Jump Street!"

Witty to be sure, and on a low budget that's one of the main ingredients needed to get a film into serious consideration from those who make the big decisions in the film industry. You can't afford effects and great locations and big name actors? Make it funny then. To his credit, writer/director Kipley Wentz (who also stars as one of the lovelorn actors) has done just that.

Cast-wise, special mention is warranted for Wentz himself, who nails his funny lines machine gun-style throughout the production. Credit also must go to Kendra Munger, and even moreso to Heather Ayers, who turns in a mature appearance as a terminally-ignored lovestruck make-up artist and manages to deliver both comedy and heart. Perhaps it's her uncanny similarity to Mary McCormack that won me over early (hello!), but of all the characters on screen, hers had me at hello. Not a bad result when you're a relatively small character in a surreal ensemble comedy.

By the end of Much Ado, the rest of these characters have started to grow on you (for the most part) as you begin to understand what makes them tick. It's a pity that feeling couldn't have been extracted from them a little earlier, because that (and a little more work on storyline) might have cranked this up to a five star effort.

Heather, if you're having as much trouble with the menfolk in reality as your character has in this film, I think I can help you out... Have your people call my people. We'll do lunch.

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originally posted: 10/02/03 18:35:09
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User Comments

3/18/14 Gmqdgbog To most effectively china channel this quarter.Finally, I would china have raised technical 4 stars
1/16/05 Tom Very funny movie 5 stars
1/07/05 Rod Foote Well constructed, intelligent writing and excellent acting! 5 stars
10/04/03 Noacat I LOVED this movie! It perfectly captured the feeling of being in an independant movie! 5 stars
10/04/03 Kendra Munger I love it! 5 stars
10/03/03 Kipley Wentz Is it gauche to rate your own film? Do I care? I love this movie! 5 stars
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  21-Aug-2003 (NR)



Directed by
  Kipley Wentz

Written by
  Kipley Wentz

  Kipley Wentz
  Kendra Munger
  Daiva Dupree
  John Mullen
  Heather Ayers
  Michael Denney

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