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By Liz Crisostomo

Smart, hip, funny mystery. Touching love story. Innovative storytelling. Strong, wonderful performances. And at the center of it all - a sometimes exasperating, but always interesting character master detective Daryl Zero.

Zero Effect is a difficult movie to describe, but it sure is easy to be drawn in.

No one has ever met Daryl Zero, except for his trusted assistant, Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller). You see, Daryl Zero likes to live alone in his penthouse fortress, eat tuna and drink Tab, and yes,take drugs in-between cases.

This time, he’s been hired to find a set of missing keys by rich man, Gregory Stark (Ryan O’Neal). “Easy enough” says Daryl Zero.

Finding the keys proves to be easy enough, but Daryl Zero also finds something else. Love. Daryl falls for the paramedic he suspects of blackmailing Stark. As the movie transforms from a comedy to a mystery, then a love story, we also see Daryl transform from a loner to a member of the human race.

In his most complex role to date, Bill Pullman pulls out all the stops. He starts off as a complete jerk who is often very funny in the way he treats everyone, including Arlo, with disdain. I laughed at the scenes where he dictates his memoirs since his assistant Arlo has shown no interest in writing it. However, as the movie progresses, Bill is able to also show the complications underneath. A less accomplished actor would have completely botched this up, but Jake Kasdan knew Bill could shine in this role. (That’s why Jake’s been planning to have Bill star in his very first movie ever since he was 13.)

I won’t ruin the story for you by saying anything more about the plot. But let me leave you with this thought. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, run to the nearest video store and rent it out. Kick everybody out of the house, put up your feet and prepare to be delightfully surprised.

The Many Faces of Daryl Zero

No tribute to Zero Effect would be complete without a gallery of all of Daryl Zero's wonderful characters. Without resorting to any obvious props and costumes, Bill Pullman doesn't just impersonate characters, he becomes them. With just a subtle facial expression or speech change, Bill magically turns into another person! Thanks to Ildi for taking these wonderful pictures.

At the observatory..

As Daryl Zero raging against Arlo

Attending Arlo's wedding

Sergio Knight, the paranoid phone caller

Nick Carmine, accountant (WWII??)

Nick Carmine - architect

Mitchell Hodgemeyer

In full amphetamined Daryl Zero mode

Shadowing Gloria Stark

Harold Burgess

For more pictures from Zero Effect, click on Zero Gallery. Sorry, but this is my favorite movie so you'll have to put up with all of the pictures!

Miscellaneous Articles

Articles,reviews and interviews for Zero Effect.

OnNow text (January 1998) - Transcript for online chat with Bill.

Elementary, My Dear Arlo   ( http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ )

Bill Pullman At Hollywood Ground Zero (Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer ) - Actor lands role written just for him     

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