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Love's Labour's Lost

Director:Kenneth Branagh
Writer:William Shakespeare
Miramax; PG; 95 minutes
Cast:Kenneth Branagh, Nathan Lane, Alicia Silverstone

Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost is an homage to American musicals in the form of one of Shakespeare's least popular plays. The plot, continually interrupted by amateurish song and dance routines, is as follows: the King of Navarre (Alessandro Nivola) and some buddies take a chastity vow to improve their philosophical skills. Up pops a French princess (Alicia Silverstone) and her entourage. "There's no business" belts out Nathan Lane in a top hat, "like show business." Branagh definitely opts for pleasures of the show. Shakespeare's language, for example, is secondary to renditions and/or remakes of classic musical numbers. It is indeed the labor of love, and the film has a pointed, almost reflective lightness to it that will doubtlessly please those who know what they're in for. Highbrow pulp is a fascinating genre to behold, and Branagh is one of its masters.

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