'Romeo and Juliet' lacks heat and romance

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Romeo and Juliet' actors Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth are too bland in the newest version of Shakespeare's play.

Philippe Antonello/Relativity Media/AP
Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld in a scene from 'Romeo and Juliet.'

What can you say about a “Romeo and Juliet” that lacks heat, romance, eroticism, or lyricism? Mercifully, not much. Carlo Carlei’s version of Shakespeare’s warhorse never leaves the barn. Streamlined (i.e., dumbed down) by screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who has seen better days with “Gosford Park” and “Downton Abbey,” this adaptation will probably turn off the young audiences for whom it was apparently intended.

Hailee Steinfeld’s Juliet is rather lovely and rather bland; Douglas Booth’s Romeo might have stepped out of a special Renaissance Faire edition of GQ. Grade: C- (Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements.)

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