Though, I am surely as much an ass as Dogberry, I think Joss Whedon has, as usual, just said what I was trying to say with his Much Ado About Nothing. It IS all about the hotness of Beatrice and Benedick. Of course it is of course it is of course it is of course it is.
But it can't be without the whole story. It can't be without Hero and Claudio. It can't be without Don John and Leonato. It can't be without the whole canvas being crowded with fools.
There was very little chance that I was not going to love this movie. I almost wish that weren't true before hand because I really loved this movie, and I feel like I landed so far beyond that foregone conclusion that I don't have words for it. Which will not stop me from going on and on and on and on. See above, re: I AM AN ASS.
I love the hand-held camera work and the way the shots constantly shift and play with perspective. It's a play about presupposition and stubborn entrenchment in what each character thinks he or she is sure of. It's about scrutiny and surveillance and the way love is intimate and personal and doesn't mean a thing until it plays out in the public eye. And the public eye doesn't know a thing about what love really is.
I love that it's unabashedly silly. That everyone is a fool at one moment or another, in word and deed and often both. I love that it's unapologetically smart, streaking past some of the best one liners without lingering. It's something I'll want to see again and again and I don't think I'll ever feel like I haven't laughed at and loved something new.
I LOVE THE CAST. Is that worth saying, given how much I love the Whedonverse? I think it is. I did not love Fred in Angel. I really, really did not love Fred. At all. And after Wesley kept a woman ball-gagged in a cage, it was really hard for me to care about him as he persisted in not being trapped under something heavy.
And though comparisons are odious, let's face it: My Beatrice and Benedick are Branagh and Thompson. They probably still are. But I loved Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof. I loved, loved, loved them in a way that I couldn't have without Joss telling his version of the whole story and making it. All. About. Them. They're ridiculous and smart and so, so, so ridiculously desirable and made for one another and seeing that all framed—literally and figuratively—by Joss's beautiful mind.
I'm not going to gush about everyone else that everyone knows I love. (Except to say that Nathan Fillion, Tom Lenk, and Tom Lenk's manly mustache NEED A SERIES.)
But Reed Diamond? Spencer Treat Clark? I RESENT NOT KNOWING THAT I LOVED YOU UNTIL NOW. Ditto Riki Lindhome. Clark Gregg. Well. Thank Ba'al that Coulson lives. It's unbelievable that he picked up the role of Leonato so late.
And I cannot even believe that Fran Kranz was both Shaggy in Cabin in the Woods (yes, I'm aware he had some other name—it's a pop culture metaphor, youngling) and possibly the only even remotely sympathetic Claudio?
Ok, that's not fair to Robert Sean Leonard. Well, yes it is. RSL is a really good Claudio. A truly odious Claudio. But this . . . I mean, I'd still push his impressionable ass down that picturesque stone-terraced hill, but Fran Kranz's Claudio is eerily familiar and interesting. I feel like I know him and thanks ever so, Joss, for making sure that there's something in everything you've ever made that will prevent me from sleeping at night.
With all due deference to the late, great Roger Ebert, I loved, loved LOVED this movie.