Love's Labour's Lost
PG
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +1

After his four-hour excursion through the ultimate HAMLET, producer-director-actor Kenneth Branagh has created a light, breezy and unique production by blending one of Shakespeares lesser known comedies with 1930s music and choreography. Set in 1939, the young king (Alessandro Nivola) of fictional Navarre, along with his three best friends, swears to give up women for three years and devote the time to studies of philosophy. Although sworn not to even allow women - other than their elderly tutor - into their presence, the arrival of the princess of France (Alicia Silverstone), and her three attendants, on a diplomatic mission makes keeping the vow impossible. Unable to resist the temptation, Berowne (Branagh) breaks his oath and sends a message to Lady Rosaline (Natasha McElhone). But he soon discovers hes not alone as each man has picked out a lady to love. Tearing up the oath, the men plan their loves conquest, but the women hatch a plan of their own. Narration in vintage-style newsreels moves the story along while song and dance routines break up the Shakespearean dialogue. The seemingly ever-present Nathan Lane also appears as the court jester, Costard, to serve as bumbling messenger and emcee for a court entertainment. His rendition of Theres No Business Like Show Business is a classic. Familiar with vintage musicals or not, audiences will enjoy this unusual take on Shakespeare.

Wrapped around the 1930s era sensibilities with Shakespearean vocabulary creates a virtually offense-free production. Of course, in a play about love, some sexual references strongly hint at the physical attraction between men and women. And one dance number in particular graphically implies a sexual attraction as the dancers caress each others bodies. Much of the play revolves around the mens oath to abstain from women and the difficulty that presents for young men. When Costard is brought before the king for being found with a woman, he defends himself with a witty, but suggestive, play on words about being with a woman. The police chief later reveals his love for the woman caught with Costard and his song and dance routine punishes his assistant with slapstick injuries. War violence appears in the newsreels but none is graphic. With a warning about one strongly suggestive dance number, LOVES LABOURS LOST can be enjoyed by teens and older viewers.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Distributor: Miramax, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Several times Moderate (knee in groin, pushing, shoving, hits played as slapstick scenes of war violence on newsreel, shooting)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None; Near nudity Few times (low cut dress, cleavage emphasized)
Homosexual Conduct: None, but one character acts mildly effeminate
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Several times (comical references to being with woman, suggestive comments by tutors, suggestive dance moves, sensual dance involves men and women caressing bodies)
Drug Abuse: Wine drinking, cigarettes, song reference to cocaine
Other: Men make oath then later discard it
Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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