Dave White
Anonymous Review

Dave's Rating:

2.0

The play's, like, the thing.

It's a sign of my own ongoing immaturity that whenever a Shakespeare-themed film crosses my path, I can barely keep the spirit of Regina Hall's character from Scary Movie from erasing whatever good sense I have left, until I'm shouting, "Shake-Uh-Speare in Love!" to whomever happens to be within listening distance.

I could have done that in the middle of watching Anonymous and nobody else in the theater would have cared. This isn't your English teacher's idea of Shakespeare, it's the vision of the man who directed 2012, Independence Day and 10,000 BC. And that is dumb. But also kind of great.

So what if Shakespeare was a self-obsessed, functionally illiterate actor and didn't write Hamlet or Macbeth or anything else? And what if it wasn't even Christopher Marlowe who did it like the legend goes? What if it was the Earl of Oxford, protecting his position in Queen Elizabeth's court by anonymously penning a series of plays full of thinly veiled references to all kinds of scandalous royal intrigue, political machinations and sex?

Well, fine. Let's say that's true. Let's say you're really out to state a case. Then by all means what you should do next is take your facts or suggestions or coincidences or whatever they happen to be and aerosol-spray them all over an Elizabethan costume-party version of The Young and The Restless. There needs to be blackmail and disguises, murders and conspiracies, corset-loosening and screeching declarations of forbidden love, hissing and stabbing, comedy-humping and bastard children, fencing, wenching, brown teeth, mud splattered crowd-surfing, dog-on-bear wrestling matches (yes, really), and guys in velvet trousers shouting things like "Your whore gave birth last week!" and "MARK MY WORDS!"

It's Shake-uh-speare for people who couldn't care less about literature or history or much of anything else; it could have robots and talking dogs and nobody would think twice about that. In fact, I blame Roland Emmerich for not reaching far enough into his bag of big booming bombast and pulling out more gut-level entertainment. Why not a giant earthquake swallowing up all of England and letting Queen Elizabeth pilot the airplane that carries everyone to safety in the Himalayas? Why not? It could have happened that way. Anything could.

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