"Thus open the gates of paradise."

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Love's Labour's Lost

06 Apr 2002

I think the last musical I saw was Woody Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You", which I thought worked in places, and really didn't work in others. And that was fine because I don't have a problem with film makers who try to do something they haven't done before, regardless of whether they succeed or not.

From the official web site: Anthony O'Donnell (Moth),
Timothy Spall (Don Armado), Nathan Lane (Costard),
Jimmy Yuill (Dull), and Stefani Rocca (Jacquanetta)

I think I went into "Love's Labour's Lost" with much the same attitude, though my desire to kill a couple of hours after standing in the Manchester Museum all day may have had a hand in it too. So what do you know? Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. I thought it worked when the music and the number fit the story, which was mostly. There were a couple of instances where you had a good long moment knowing that the film was about to launch into a musical number. I can't stand those moments, and they are the parts of the film that made me realize I was sitting in a theatre -- never a good thing. Nevertheless, the musical segments were charming.

Like "Much Ado About Nothing," Kenneth Branagh has a mixed cast of British and American actors, which thankfully is neither here nor there. Most are able hands, but Nathan Lane as Costard was exceptional. He has immaculate comic timing and delivered his lines effortlessly. What a delight.

Branagh himself is still a bit hammy, but quite tolerable. Adrian Lester (remember him from "Primary Colors"?) dances a treat (who knew?), but the one I'm asked about most frequently is Alicia Silverstone who plays the Princess. "Does she ruin everything?" Thankfully no.

Opens in the Canada (and elsewhere) this summer.

Related Web Sites

Love's Labour's Lost (IMDB)
Love's Labour's Lost (Official Site)
Everyone Says I Love You (IMDB)
The Manchester Museum