Aside from sonnets and other poems, the body of Shakespeare’s work consists of tragedies and comedies. Regardless of whether or not there’s a happy ending, the element common in all of his creations is the characters’ egos. Consequently, words are misconstrued, appearances deceiving, and feelings hurt. The characters in Kipley Wentz’s film “Much Ado” are making a Shakespearean movie and experience a fair amount of ego-bruising and misunderstandings in the process.
“Much Ado” opens with one of the scenes the characters are shooting. Both dressed in blue jumper suits, Valerie (Kendra Munger) and Tristan (Kipley Wentz) are doing a dialogue piece. Hanging against a tree with a rope strapped around his waist, Tristan professes his love to Valerie, who’s standing on the ground looking up at him. Suddenly, a man clad in dark khakis, an olive green shirt, and a brown leather jacket marches into the shot and punches Tristan, who is still dangling in mid-air. Some chaos ensues before the screen goes black, revealing a title card which says “a fortnight anon (two weeks ago.”
The film then rewinds itself two weeks and sheds light on why that man, Seth (Jefferson Arca), hit Tristan. You also get a sense of the dynamics between the characters. Valerie stars in the film that she’s also producing; Tristan is also the resident chef; Digby Wells (John Mullen) is called in to replace the original director; Chloe (Heather Ayers), the makeup artist, has something important to tell actor Brandon (Michael Denney), but she doesn’t know how; and Lena (Majorie Hamel), another actress, is anxiously awaiting a trip to Paris to study mime.
Director Wentz, who also wrote the film’s screenplay, infuses “Much Ado” with humor that doesn’t come across as premeditated even if it actually is planned. A nightmare featuring clowns, a dare involving Vietnamese hot sauce, and a plastic alligator puppet are hysterically incorporated into the film as well. “Much Ado” is more of a comedy than a tragedy. Take a look at it if you want to know whether or not it has a happy ending.