Scrumptiously Devious March 3, 2002
If your mind is longing for a Shakespeare production, this is an
excellent adaptation of the highest order. Not only is this one
of the best romantic comedies ever written, it is set in the
Tuscan sun and reaches its full comic potential in all the
lustiness and witty dialogue only Shakespeare could create.
At a sensuous picnic, Beatrice reads:
Sign no more, ladies, sign no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into hey (nonny nonny). (brief translation: what the heck).
Act 2, scene 3, 62-69
In Messina, the governor Leonato, his daughter Hero, and her
cousin Beatrice (Antonio's daughter) learn from a messenger that
Don Pedro has won victory in a battle and is returning home.
Denzel Washington as the Prince Don Pedro really adds sex
appeal to this movie! When he arrives with his soldiers from war
there is a moment of excitement when everyone lets their inner
child escape and there is a feeling of giddy anticipation and
the movie takes on a vigorous life of its own.
This is pure escapism for sure. The Italian villa with lush
landscapes, fountains and plenty of shrubs to hide behind for
eavesdropping on crucial conversations is just enchanting. It is
the perfect place for the story to unfold. Here the prince and
his warriors decide to vacation for a month.
The main plot involves two love stories. Hero (Kate
Beckinsale) and Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard) are in love and
hardly need to be pressured into matrimony.
Benedick (Kenneth Branagh) and Beatrice (Emma Thompson) have
a hilarious adversarial type courtship in neither can decide
what they really want.
"Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably."
They have both declared they will never marry. In fact, one
assumes it was their desire of their wild hearts all along, but
was only revealed in a tortured path of wit and intrigue.
Claudio: [to Hero] Lady, as you are mine, I am yours; I give
away myself for you and dote upon the exchange.
Beatrice: Speak, cousin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth with
a kiss, and let not him speak neither.
Don John ("yummy" Keanu Reaves) is of course the
evil villan in this story and sets out to destroy the
relationship between the beautiful Hero and the handsome
Claudio. Like a devil, he manages to create mayhem and then
leaves the tortured souls to figure out the details of their
salvation. With the sweet Hero slandered and presumed dead, one
assumes as sure as there is a thought or a soul, there is no
There are so many great lines in this play that were included
with such flair. This is now my favorite Shakespeare adaptation.
You will laugh with absolute delight
at the antics these characters get up to!