6.9/10
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151 user 86 critic

Zero Effect (1998)

Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
The world's greatest detective Daryl Zero aided by his associate Steve Arlo investigates a complex and mysterious case of blackmail and missing keys for shady tycoon Gregory Stark who is less than forthcoming about what is really happening!

Director:

Jake Kasdan

Writer:

Jake Kasdan
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Pullman ... Daryl Zero
Ben Stiller ... Steve Arlo
Ryan O'Neal ... Gregory Stark
Kim Dickens ... Gloria Sullivan
Angela Featherstone ... Jess
Hugh Ross Hugh Ross ... Bill
Sarah DeVincentis Sarah DeVincentis ... Daisy
Matt O'Toole ... Kragan Vincent
Michele Mariana Michele Mariana ... Maid
Robert Katims Robert Katims ... Gerald Auerbach
Tyrone Henry Tyrone Henry ... Staffer #1
Aleta Barthell Aleta Barthell ... Staffer #2
Tapp Watkins Tapp Watkins ... Firefighter
Wendy Westerwelle Wendy Westerwelle ... Motel Clerk
Lauren Hasson Lauren Hasson ... Little Kid
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Storyline

Daryl Zero is a private investigator. Along with his assistant, Steve Arlo he solves impossible crimes and puzzles. Though a master investigator, when he is not working, Zero doesn't know what to do with himself. He has no social skills, writes bad music, and drives Arlo crazy. In his latest case, Zero must find out who is blackmailing a rich executive, and when his client won't tell him, why. The only problem with this case is Zero has done something he's never done before: got emotionally involved. Written by MartianWax

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The world's most private detective.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jake Kasdan wrote the part of Daryl Zero specifically for Bill Pullman after meeting the actor on the set of The Accidental Tourist (1988), directed by his father, Lawrence Kasdan. See more »

Goofs

When Zero puts down the tuna can it's at a slant, and when the camera goes back to it, it's lying flat. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Steve Arlo: It's an uncompromising standard of his practice. He never meets any of his clients. He doesn't speak with them, or, for that matter, communicate in any direct fashion. That's his policy. But I am his sole representative and he is my only employer; and as such, I have full authorization to speak on his behalf on all his matters of business. I have with me a signed letter to that effect. He doesn't negotiate his fee. He works at a flat rate. Under some unusual circumstances, he'll ...
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Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Mystery Dance
Written and Performed by Elvis Costello
Courtesy of Rykodisc and Demon Records Ltd.
by arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

User Reviews

 
Good
23 November 2004 | by sarastro7See all my reviews

I got this movie very cheaply, and expected to just watch it once and then chuck it out. (I generally avoid Ben Stiller.) But it was a very pleasant surprise. Bill Pullman is great. The girl, Kim Dickens, is great. The story starts off as obvious comedy, but in the course of the movie things get more and more serious, and other than the funny premise about the reclusive detective with the ridiculously encyclopedic knowledge, it really isn't a comedy. The story is engrossing, and you grow to care for the characters. Even Stiller's situation, and decisions, are understandable and believable.

Pullman and Dickens' characters - Daryl "Nick" Zero and Gloria - had a great relationship developing. I really like the fact that, even though Gloria knew that "Nick" wasn't who he claimed to be, she still knew that he was being honest in his feelings for her. She never doubted that. That's a kind of understanding that you rarely see in movie situations like that. They always tend to make a big deal out of the "you were just faking your affection for me!" kind of thing, and then spending a tediously long time sorting out the misunderstanding. Very refreshing to have it handled more maturely and insightfully here.

I would have liked Pullman and Dickens' characters to have ended up together; there didn't really seem to be any pressing reason for their remaining apart. But the writer-director apparently didn't want the typical romantic cliché ending, and I can understand that (even though I disagree with the decision in this case).

While not a superb masterpiece, this was a good and interesting movie, which will be worth watching again sometime. Definitely a keeper.

7 out of 10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 January 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zero Effect See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$434,840, 1 February 1998

Gross USA:

$2,087,471

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,087,471
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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