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Zero Effect


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Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Pullman, Ben Stiller, Ryan O'Neal, Kim Dickens, Angela Featherstone
  • Directors: Jake Kasdan
  • Writers: Jake Kasdan
  • Producers: Jake Kasdan, Janet Yang, Jim Behnke, Lisa Henson, Naomi Despres
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: July 14, 1998
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780623223
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,611 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Zero Effect" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

HE'S A GENIUS ON THE JOB AND A BASKET CASE IN LIFE. WITH SHARPINSIGHT, DETECTIVE DARYL ZERO AND HIS SIDEKICK ZERO IN ON CRIME.BUT WHEN LOVE ZEROES IN ON ZERO, THE WORLDS GREATEST SLEUTH SUDDENLY DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE.

Amazon.com

Zero Effect follows private investigator Daryl Zero and Steve Arlo, his reluctant representative, through one particularly tangled case involving blackmail, murder, revenge, and a set of lost keys. Zero is the world's best private investigator, suave and totally in control while on a case, but socially inept when off the job. The diversely talented and prolific Bill Pullman is excellently cast as Zero, switching seamlessly from one persona to the next, and the ever-charming Ben Stiller is his perfect sidekick. In a deadpan description of his method, or the "Zero Effect," Zero details his brilliance for Sherlock Holmes-like deductions, based on his strict adherence to objectivity and observation, or, in Zero parlance, "the obs." Somewhat predictably the obs falter when the case of the missing keys brings Zero to Gloria Sullivan, a winsome and mysterious paramedic played by Kim Dickens. Thankfully, writer-director Jake Kasdan is no less brilliant than the Zero he creates, and the potential corniness of the developing romance is balanced by a razor-sharp wit and the nail-biting suspense of the unfolding plot. --Laska Jimsen

Customer Reviews

Great story, suspenseful and hilarious at the same time.
Thomas W. Edmonds
The least one can say about ZERO EFFECT is that the script is very intelligent and reveals the work of a genuine writer.
Daniel S.
I really liked this movie and will try to be helpful without repeating all that has been said.
Jonathan Reich

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Smith on February 20, 2003
Format: DVD
Jake Kasdan himself, the director of "Zero Effect," admitted that the Detective-Story plot is a Hollywood favorite. Having admitted that, he went on to create one of the best movies I've seen, and certainly the best I've seen in this genre, while at once adhering to the rules of the detective story and creating such a sharp, intelligently written story that it makes you shake your head.
There is so much to love about this movie I hesitate to begin. How about with the dialogue? From the first line, the dialogue is precise, subtle and funny. Someone famous once stressed that subtlety is key to lasting humor, and this script is exemplary; it's as funny the tenth time I watch it as it was the first. For once, we get to laugh at the detective hero, to laugh at his human flaws, as well as marvel at his methods.
Ben Stiller is a master of the human kettle of frustration, and is a great counterpoint to Pullman's various quirks. I didn't like Stiller much before this film, but have since become a staunch fan thanks to his performance here. Kim Dickens was fantastic, as was the role created for her. Detective movies usually feature a femme fatale with much more to her than meets the eye, but Clarissa is one to beat them all. I'll let it stand at that so as not to ruin any of the plot. And Ryan O'Neal rounds out the main cast with a wonderful portrayal of a white-collar criminal.
People accuse me sometimes of taking movies too seriously, but I argue back that my favorites are ones that actually teach me something lasting. As we watch, we solve the mystery along with Daryl Zero, and we learn his methods, similar to reading along to a Sherlock Holmes story (in this case, see "A Scandal in Bohemia").
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stalwart Kreinblaster on October 22, 2004
Format: DVD
This is an extremely entertaining little film - with Bill Pullman providing most of the laughs - alongside the usually comic Ben Stiller - who is somewhat serious in this role. The film is about an extremely talented private dick who is inexperienced in his own personal life - which takes an almost classic twist (reminiscent of some old hollywood films) when he falls for the charms of someone - who turns out to be equally adept at hiding things. This is a very unique, intelligent movie that will leave you satisfied and a little bit excited about what you have seen. I think this gives us a glimpse of what hollywood these days is capable of, but rarely delivers - a charming character study!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 2000
Format: DVD
I love this movie, one of a very few that I never tire of rewatching. Wonderful mood/atmosphere, in some way reminiscent of Blade Runner. The parallels with the character of Sherlock Holmes are many and vivid. Writer/Director Kasden must be a fan of Jeremy Brett's interpretation of the English sleuth. It's all here: the drug addiction (Tab too), the interest in music - there a violin here a guitar, the disguises, the erratic personal behavior, brilliant leaps in deduction, Stiller's Doctor Watson, and finally the woman. Kim Dickens portrays (very well) the only female that has ever, will ever, reach Zero's heart just as Irene Adler in "A Scandal in Bohemia" was forever 'the' woman in Holme's life. A well told detective story that moves at its own pace but never fails to keep your interest. Pullman, Stiller, and O'Neal are perfect. The music fits (I even bought the soundtrack). A little gem of a movie. Watch it. Buy it. Give us a sequel Jake.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By kentuckyreader on April 9, 2002
Format: DVD
If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes, and you haven't seen this picture, you are doing yourself a disservice. As you can note by the many reviews, it is very Sherlockian. No small wonder: it appears to be a retelling of the Holmes story "A Scandal In Bohemia." It borrows the skeleton of the original story - which provides us with the comfortable old paradigm - but it veers from the source material enough to make it feel entirely fresh. Which is cool.
Also, it is interesting from a visual standpoint, which lends credibility to Sherlock's quote (from yet another story) that "Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms," considering Jake Kasdan's paternity. In this case, it might be better to amend the quote to "Art in the blood can't help but reveal itself." It's a pretty looking film, and the camera is in the hands of someone who understands how to use it as a narrative device.
Even those who haven't read every Sherlock Holmes story available will possibly like this, because I think most people like to watch stories about really, really smart people who figure stuff out . . . particularly when those smart people have a difficult time keeping themselves together, despite their intelligence.
The comparison to Sherlock Holmes wouldn't be quite complete without pointing out that this movie is very sequel-worthy ... and I hope that its makers finally arrive at the same conclusion.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ranger Pat on December 4, 2004
Format: DVD
Modern version of Sherlock Holmes...with Ben Stiller as Watson. Pullman is electric as the troubled PI. There are some holes in the plot but the overall effect of classic mystery elements & colorful detective in a 1990s setting is well worth checking out. Excellent music; although nothing is made of surround sound and the transfer to dvd is just ok. Technical aspects aside, this is above average fare. Great atmospheric shots of Portland, OR.
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