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An Off Night

(The sexual shenanigans don't end there: Antonio, the sea captain who saves Sebastian from a watery grave, obviously is in love with Viola's brother. And he doesn't need to be seduced by a gender-blurring disguise, either.)

Imogen Stubbs is delightfully deft as Viola, and even manages to make herself slightly resemble Stephen Mackintosh as Sebastian. But the mistaken-identity conceit is undercut by the realistic setting. If Nunn wanted to fix the movie in a particular period with era-specific architecture and costuming, he might have considered using special effects or some other trickery to actually have the same actor -- or actress -- play both Viola and Sebastian. To be sure, William Shakespeare probably would not approve. But, then again, he had guys playing both roles back at the Globe Theater. Maybe turnabout would be fair play.

-- Joe Leydon

Twelfth Night.
Directed by Trevor Nunn. With Helena Bonham Carter, Richard E. Grant, Nigel Hawthorne, Ben Kingsley, Toby Stephens and Imogen Stubbs.

Rated PG.
125 minutes.

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