Review: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Rave’

Shakespeare is set to a throbbing techno beat in "A Midsummer Night's Rave," but the result plays less like witty romantic comedy than a watered-down (and dumbed-down) version of Doug Liman's 1999 "Go." Director Gil Cates Jr. goes for cheap laughs without worrying about such niceties as narrative logic and character consistency.

Shakespeare is set to a throbbing techno beat in “A Midsummer Night’s Rave,” but the result plays less like witty romantic comedy than a watered-down (and dumbed-down) version of Doug Liman’s 1999 “Go.” Once again, director Gil Cates Jr. (“The Mesmerist”) goes for cheap laughs by encouraging actors to chew on the scenery — and each other — without worrying about such niceties as narrative logic and character consistency. Pic isn’t likely to be a fave-rave with critics or auds.

Scripter Robert Raymond borrows bare bones of Bard’s plot while setting characters loose at woodland rave where mind-altering substances, not magical spells, cause mortals to behave foolishly. With a little chemically enhanced assistance from O.B. John (Jason Carter), master of the revels, and Puck (Glen Badyna), his mincingly elfin assistant, various break-ups and pairings ensue. Despite the drugs, pic seems almost as quaint as a ’60s “Beach Party” pic as couples overcome inhibitions to get together. Cates fails to convey frenetic energy of real raves, but coaxes personable performances from Andrew Keegan, Sunny Mabrey and (especially) Lauren German. Fortunately for all parties, use of genuine Shakespearean dialogue is kept to a minimum.

A Midsummer Night's Rave

Production

A Filmtrax Entertainment Inc. production. Produced by Gil Cates Jr., Summer Forest Hoeckel. Executive producers: Sam Nazarian, Leslie Bates, Steve Eggleston, Dawn Hoenie, Peter Rafelson, Richard Rofe, Livington Webb. Directed by Gil Cates Jr. Screenplay, Robert Raymond.

Crew

Camera (color), Thomas M. Harting; editor, Jonathan Cates; music, Peter Rafelson. Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, March 30, 2003. (At South by Southwest Film Festival -- Special Screening.) Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Andrew Keegan, Chad Lindberg, Lauren German, Corey Pearson, Sunny Mabrey, Matt Czuchry, Nicole Hiltz, Kerri Lynn Pratt, Glen Badyna, Jason Carter, Terrence Scannell, Carrie Fisher.
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