Shakespeare in Love

Bomb Rating: 

This movie makes it fairly obvious that the filmmakers doubt "a love of Shakespearean theater" is enough to draw people into the theaters. So they do what filmmakers do when they're desperate to attract that core 18 - 24 male demographic: Convince Gwyneth Paltrow that taking off her clothes is somehow germane to the plot.

Unfortunately, director John ("Mrs. Brown") Madden and the people at Miramax aren't smart enough to use this to their advantage. If they were, any time people associated with the film were interviewed, they'd say something like, "This is a wonderful film about how Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) might have come to have written 'Romeo and Juliet'... and by the way, Gwyneth Paltrow appears bare-ass naked." Hell, they might as well have titled the film "Gwyneth Paltrow Is: Naked" or just put "naked" in parentheses after her name on the marquee.

Unfortunately, Paltrow's bare, bony ass does little to bolster the flabby assumption that however Shakespeare came to write "Romeo and Juliet," it might be interesting to illuminate the similarity between today's audiences and yesterday's. Yesterday's, like today's, were also looking for mindless adventure and goofy pet tricks. When, after much difficulty, Shakespeare offers up genuine emotion and human relationships (plus a double suicide, I might add), the audience is touched and Queen Elizabeth (Judi Dench) amazed.

It's a touching and noteworthy lesson on the timeless nature of storytelling. Unfortunately, Hollywood has managed to get its hands on that lesson and pervert it into something like, "The higher the body count, the better -- and bonus points for naked waifs!"

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