|Directed by||Jake Kasdan|
|Produced by||Lisa Henson
|Written by||Jake Kasdan|
|Narrated by||Bill Pullman|
|Music by||The Greyboy Allstars|
|Edited by||Tara Timpone|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|January 30, 1998|
|Box office||US$2,087,471 (USA)|
Zero Effect is a 1998 mystery film written and directed by Jake Kasdan (son of writer/director Lawrence Kasdan). It stars Bill Pullman as "the world's most private detective" Daryl Zero and Ben Stiller as his assistant Steve Arlo. The plot of the film is loosely based on the Arthur Conan Doyle short story "A Scandal in Bohemia".
Daryl Zero (Bill Pullman) is the world's greatest detective, but is also a socially maladroit misanthrope. Among his quirks is that he never meets or has direct contact with his clients, instead conducting business through his assistant, Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller). Throughout the movie, Zero provides narration as he reads lines from his proposed autobiography.
Zero and Arlo are hired by Portland area millionaire Gregory Stark (Ryan O'Neal). Stark has lost the key to a safe deposit box and is being blackmailed by an unknown person who forces him to follow elaborate instructions to deliver the cash payments. Zero quickly discovers that the blackmailer is Gloria Sullivan (Kim Dickens) an EMT with a mysterious past. Zero refuses to reveal Gloria's identity to Stark until Zero understands why she is blackmailing Stark. Zero becomes attracted to Gloria, compromising his trademark objectivity.
Stark pressures Arlo to reveal the blackmailer's identity so that he can have that person killed. Arlo must also deal with Zero's somewhat absurd demands on his time, which increasingly interfere with Arlo's relationship with his girlfriend Jess.
Zero eventually discovers that Stark had been obsessed with Gloria's mother following a brief romantic relationship when the two were in college. She later blackmailed Stark with the threat of exposing him as a rapist, so he had her killed. However, she had already given birth to their daughter Gloria, who was discovered and raised by the hitman who killed her mother. Gloria grew up knowing that Stark was behind her mother's murder, and when her adoptive father contracted a terminal illness, she used the information to pay for medical treatment. At the meeting to deliver the final blackmail payment, Stark collapses from a heart attack and Gloria is compelled to save his life. She then flees the country with Zero's assistance.
- Bill Pullman as Daryl Zero
- Ben Stiller as Steve Arlo
- Ryan O'Neal as Gregory Stark
- Kim Dickens as Gloria Sullivan
- Angela Featherstone as Jess
Released in January 1998, the official soundtrack for the film includes:
- "Mystery Dance" – Elvis Costello
- "One Dance" – Dan Bern
- "Starbucked" – Bond
- "Into My Arms" – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
- "Some Jingle Jangle Morning" – Mary Lou Lord
- "Emma J" – Brendan Benson
- "The Method Pt. 2" – The Greyboy Allstars
- "Drifting Along" – Jamiroquai
- "Till You Die" – Candy Butchers
- "Lounge" – Esthero
- "Blackmail Drop" – The Greyboy Allstars
- "Three Days" – Thermadore
- "Rest My Head Against the Wall" – Heatmiser
- "The Zero Effect" – The Greyboy Allstars
In 2002 Kasdan attempted to resurrect the character Daryl Zero for the NBC television network. He shared the screenwriting duties with Walon Green and directed the pilot. He was also one of the producers. The series was intended to be a prequel, tracing the early adventures of Zero as he and Arlo became a team. The pilot stars Alan Cumming as Daryl Zero and features Krista Allen and Natasha Gregson Wagner. NBC did not pick up the pilot.
- Zero Effect at the Internet Movie Database
- Zero Effect at AllMovie
- Zero Effect at Rotten Tomatoes
- Zero Effect at Box Office Mojo
- Zero Effect: Tenth Anniversary of Daryl Zero (1998–2008)