Zero Effect

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Director(s): Jake Kasdan
Production: Warner Home Video
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min

It's his uncompromising standard.

He never meets his clients.

He doesn't speak with them

or communicate directly.

It's his policy.

I'm his sole representative,

he's my only employer...

...and I have full authorization to

speak on his behalf on all his 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 work pro bono. Never in between.

I suppose I don't qualify

for the latter category.

I haven't heard your proposal yet.

I have a feeling that mine

is not a charity case.

Most aren't.

Mr. Arlo, you realize

this is all very strange.

I mean, nobody in your field...

...asks the kind of money

your employer does and nobody...

...communicates via...

...a messenger.

It's all very unusual.

Let me tell you about the case of the

man with the mismatched shoelaces.

Years ago, when I first

came into his employ...

...he was contracted to find a man.

I can't give much detail...

...but believe me, if this man

had not been located...

...our country's good diplomacy

with a certain economic superpower...

...might have a different face today.

Federal, state, local authorities

all over the world...

...searched for a face whose

significance they couldn't fathom.

He'd vanished without a trace.

On the 8th morning, a non-political

third party contacted me...

...with an unrelated private agenda.

My employer had never heard of this

missing man, knew nothing about him.

After just one hour of desk work...

...just an hour after accepting

the case...

...he picked up the telephone

and placed a call.

Guess who answered the phone.

The missing man.

The man with the mismatched shoelaces.

Without ever leaving the house.

I'm telling you, he never even...

...leaves the house, okay?

I mean, he's like some kind of recluse.

A complete freak.

No social life.

In fact, no social skills.

F***ing strange. When he works...

...the smoothest operator you've seen.

Brave, slick...

...cunning... anything.

Soon as he gets off work...'s all gone.

Afraid to go to the dry cleaners.


Too uncomfortable in his own skin

to go out and eat.


...and inept.

Rude too.

Just an a**hole.

You could meet him 5 times

and not realize it's the same person.

He can tell you where you were born,

how old your mother was at the time...

...and what you had for breakfast,

all within 30 seconds of meeting you.

He can get a criminal to confess without

his realizing he's being questioned.

How does he do it?

He has a deeply nuanced and functional

understanding of human behavior... rival the great psychoanalytical

minds of our time.

He understands the criminal mind

as well as the innocent mind...

...the stable mind as well as the

psychotic, sociopathic mind...

...the male as well as the female.

I don't think he's ever...

...kissed a girl.

He's thirty-something years old.

What does he do when he's not working?

Does he just sit around the house?

When private investigation

won its most worthy champion...

...academia and the arts

suffered a loss, a great loss.

In addition to his many scholarly gifts,

he's a terrifically talented musician.

He writes songs.

He's terrible.

His metaphors are thin,

his imagery is cliched...

...and his thematic material is trite

and heavy-handed.

Why do you do it?

I left the firm, didn't know

what I was going to do...

...and I get this message on my machine.

He'd watched me argue a case in court...

...said I was the only person for the job.

I don't know. The guy's nuts, okay?

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Jake Kasdan

Jacob "Jake" Kasdan (born October 28, 1974) is an American film and television director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. more…

All Jake Kasdan scripts | Jake Kasdan Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Zero Effect" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 30 Jun 2022. <>.

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