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By Rory L. Aronsky | May 19, 2006

Well wouldn’t you know, Kate (Kristen Swanson) and Petruchio (Justin Dray) of the famed classroom classic, “The Taming of the Shrew” have mellowed after ten years of marriage and it’s not good for either of them. Petruchio’s grown a small gut and Kate has cellulite where thongs lie.

When they’re dead, it no longer matters what an author thinks. We can’t gauge what any writer would think of an alternate use of their characters because none of us are them. The same goes for Shakespeare. Ten years later after the tempestuous, angry, and passionate relationship between them, this is who Kate and Petruchio are now. And it’s actually quite a good conceit, especially since writer/director/producer/editor Foster Solomon presents us at first with a couple like any couple. Their sex life has dwindled to where Petruchio isn’t much aroused by the sight of a nearly naked Kate. And in watching an absurd and at the same time, funny attempt by the two to try out her rape fantasy at the beginning, why bother using these characters? They look like yet another married couple and the Shakespeare angle just looks like a way to get more attention from those who would normally pass by a short like this.

Ah, but there’s where we soon become wrong. Kate calls Petruchio by a shortened name but later on, Kate tells Petruchio what their neighbors do in their sex lives and exactly where the elephant and squishy vibrator came from, that Petruchio now holds. Kristen Swanson and Justin Dray have a skilled way with physical comedy as he tries to figure out why she wants this fantasy acted out, and with his wide eyes and worried grin, it’s easy to imagine why Petruchio couldn’t have possibly been that tough toward Kate for even more years after the wedding. Swanson looks delighted in her performance, and in the middle, gets her best moments as she’s in full control, just like Kate would be, no matter who she’s become after a long time. What else can Petruchio do but watch, try to understand, and just wrap his mind around what he sees as a kind of insanity?

Marriage is fertile ground in movies and Foster Solomon and these actors keep it fertile. The closest distance between a couple is sometimes the bedroom and it’s never boring in this bedroom, not with what these two try to do.

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