Writer/director Joss Whedon (SERENITY, MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS) gives William Shakespeare’s beloved battle-of-the-sexes comedy a contemporary makeover in this feature adaptation starring Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof. In the wake of an eventful trip abroad, Claudio (Fran Kranz) and Benedick (Denisof) arrive safely back in their hometown of Messina, where Claudio wastes no time declaring his love for Hero (Jillian Morgese). Alas, when clever Benedick learns that his friend has poured his heart out to the daughter of powerful governor Leonato (Clark Gregg), he chides his old friend relentlessly over the syrupy assertion while engaging Leonato’s outspoken niece Beatrice (Acker) in a series of spirited debates. Meanwhile, somewhere amidst all of the pointed insults and playful barbs, something that strangely resembles true love seems to blossom between Benedick and Beatrice. Nathan Fillion, Reed Diamond, and Sean Maher co-star.
“[T]he joyous spirit of the play has been preserved in this modest, homegrown production.” (Wall Street Journal)
3 stars out of 4 — “[A] delightfully spirited romp, filled with visual splendor, strong performances and flashes of post-modern absurdity (USA Today)
3 stars out of 4 — “Whedon, without skimping on the tale’s tragic undercurrents, has crafted an irresistible blend of mirth and malice.” (Rolling Stone)
4 stars out of 5 — “It will require no conspiring to make you fall for this one; Whedon and Shakespeare are a perfect match.” (Empire)
“[F]rom its very first scenes, Mr. Whedon’s film crackles with a busy, slightly wayward energy that recalls the classic romantic sparring of the studio era.” (New York Times)
“ADO never loses the spirit of its source material. The focus is squarely on the actors, who approximate the playful, collaborative energy of a primo theater troupe.” (A.V. Club)