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Full of "sparkling merriment" The Hollywood Reporter, this sexy, sunny comedy positively sizzles as one set of lovers battles against a dirty trick, and another set simply battleseach other! Adapted by Oscar® nominee* Kenneth Branagh and featuring an all-star cast, this charming romp "casts the battle of the sexes in the form of an elegant dance" The New York Times. A military war has just ended, but the "merry war" between Beatrice Emma Thompson and Benedick Branagh rages on! Can their friends trick them into making love instead? For that matter, can another couple's devotion survive the evil Don John's Keanu Reeves vicious lies? It's up to the blundering constable Michael Keaton to save the day so that the course of true love may yet run smooth! *1989: Director, Actor, Henry V; 1992: Short Film-Live Action, Swan Song; 1996: Adapted Screenplay, Hamlet
Kenneth Branagh's 1993 production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing is a vigorous and imaginative work, cheerful and accessible for everyone. Largely the story of Benedick Branagh and Beatrice Emma Thompson--adversaries who come to believe each is trying to woo the other--the film veers from arched wit to ironic romps, and the two leads don't mind looking a little silly at times. But the plot is also layered with darker matters that concern the ease with which men and women fall into mutual distrust. Branagh has rounded up a mixed cast of stage vets and Hollywood stars, among the latter Denzel Washington and Michael Keaton, the latter playing a rather seedy, Beetlejuice-like version of Dogberry, king of malapropisms. The DVD release has optional full-screen and widescreen presentations, Dolby sound, optional Spanish and French soundtracks or subtitles.--Tom Keogh