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At Theaters: 1/30/1998 On Video: 7/14/1998
Rated: R Length: 1 hr. 55 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 029803
Studio: Castle Rock Entertainment
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Storyline Heading

Daryl Zero (Bill Pullman) is an eccentric and reclusive private detective. Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller) is his sardonic partner and front man. The two are hired by a blackmail victim to find his lost keys, however, the case becomes complicated when a beautiful paramedic with a mysterious past comes on the scene. Zero's usually sharp mind becomes unfocused when he finds himself falling in love and perhaps losing his carefully guarded objectivity.

Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Murder Mystery - Zero Effect is a quirky mystery with comic overtones. This film will appeal to those who enjoy character-driven stories with minimal action.

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Cast and Crew Heading
Bill Pullman (Independence Day)
Ben Stiller (Flirting With Disaster)
Ryan O'Neal (Irreconcilable Differences)
Kim Dickens (Great Expectations)
Angela Featherstone (Con Air)
Wri/Dir: Jake Kasdan (Directorial Debut)
Production Notes Heading
Not provided by studio.
Content Heading
PROFANITY: Occasional use of strong profanity.
SEX/NUDITY: One brief scene of lovemaking; no nudity.
VIOLENCE: One brief act of non-graphic violence.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Drinks consumed at a bar
COMEDY: Comic dialogue throughout.

Pictures © Castle Rock Entertainment ®
All Rights Reserved.

Critic's Review Heading
At its core, Jake Kasdan's Zero Effect is a mystery, but that aspect of this quirky film is its weakest. In telling the story of eccentric, reclusive private investigator Daryl Zero's (Bill Pullman) search to find a rich blackmail victim's (Ryan O'Neal) keys, Zero Effect does not deliver conventional mystery payoffs. What it does offer, however, is something more rich and unexpected--a funny, offbeat character study of its fascinating protagonist.

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Opinion Heading

Based on an Exit Polling of 15 Moviegoers

Ages Age Group
Your Probability of
Enjoying This Movie
Movie To Friends
13-19Teens (M)
20-29Yg Adults (M)
Fairly High
20-29Yg Adults (F)
About 50/50
30+Adults (M)
Fairly High
30+Adults (F)
Fairly High
*Possible Ratings: Very High, High, Fairly High, About 50/50, Fairly Low, Low, Very Low.

About Our Opinions

Be sure to read the DETAILED OPINIONS
The positive and negative comments made by moviegoers are very
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Daryl Zero (Bill Pullman), private detective, has taken the 20th century artform of complete detachment to its zenith. He is a mysterious man who maintains no personal connections, no foolish passions, no . . . well, no real life to speak of. He has only his work -- and his sharply-honed powers of impartial observation have sealed his rep as the world's most effective criminal investigator.

So removed from the world is Daryl Zero that he conducts his business through a front-man, Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller), a smooth-talking young attorney who hides Zero's neuroses and numbed, reclusive lifestyle from their sophisticated, high-paying clients. If Daryl Zero is a man with no life to speak of, Steve Arlo is a man with no life of his own, a man who lives through the glory and genius of his otherwise annoyingly arrogant and socially inept boss.

Together, Zero and Arlo have solved some of the world's most stultifying criminal cases, including The Case Of The Man With Mismatched Shoelaces and The Case of the Hired Gun Who Made Too Many Mistakes. But now they may face their most challenging case yet: the case of taciturn Portland timber tycoon Gregory Stark (Ryan O'Neal) who has lost his keys. Stark has lost the keys to a safety deposit box and he has contracted Zero to find them. He won't reveal or provide any clues as to the contents or answer as to why he is being blackmailed.

The case is right up Daryl's alley -- calling for his trademark ability to dispassionately ferret out the details criminals leave behind. But one thing stands in Daryl's way -- something he has never encountered before. An attachment. Of the female kind. As the investigation gets under way, Daryl finds himself drawn to an intriguing paramedic (Kim Dickens) who makes his heart do dangerous stops and starts. How will Daryl function when he begins to feel things about what he's observing? Will Steve Arlo find the courage to declare his independence? And where the heck are those keys?

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