It’s a shame how many of the best newer Italian comedies aren’t readily available here in the US. For those of you who get a chance to see my favorites, one thing will be clear: This isn’t Totò’s Italy and there’s a new day dawning in Italian comedy.
Pane e Tulipani – As I watched Bread and Tulips – for the 100th time – I laughed at all the same stuff – for the 100th time. It’s about Rosalba, the runaway housewife, Fernando, the depressed waiter, Tino, the out of work plumber turned PI, and Grazia, the holistic massage therapist. They converge in Venice, and director Silvio Soldini creates something magical. Watch it instantly on Netflix.
Che Bella Giornata – Checco Zalone’s humor relies on political incorrectness, but not gratuitously, and though not exactly intellectual, it’s hit a chord with Italian moviegoes and with me. There’s something about him, something really likeable. In fact,this, his second movie surpassed Benigni’s “La Vita e’ Bella” and almost outdid “Titanic” in Italy. Che Bella Giornata (What a Beautiful Day) is about a regular (not very bright) guy who really wants to be a cop.
Benvenuti Al Sud – Jamm Jà! Alberto lives in a small town not far from Milan and dreams of moving to the big city but when he applies for a transfer he ends up where no northern Italian wants to end up – southern Italy.
Kryptonite Nella Borsa – La Kryptonite Nella Borsa is a comedy that’s a little melancholy and a little kitschy, but very fresh and entertaining. Little Peppino’s family is in turmoil and what he needs is a super-hero. Luckily, he’s got one; recently deceased cousin Gennaro.
Magnifica Presenza – Ferzan Ozpetek’s comedy about Pietro, an aspiring actor who works in a bakery and goes on auditions. When Pietro moves into a new house he finds that the old inhabitants have not quite moved out; it’s haunted by a group of glamorous actors from the past.
L’Uomo Perfetto – “The perfect man” is Riccardo Scamarcio (and he surely is) in this comedy about Maria and Lucia who have been best friends since childhood and have only just the one problem – Maria’s engaged to the only man who Lucia ever loved.
Tu La Conosci Claudia – Written by and starring the comedy tri of Aldo Baglio, Giovanni Storti, and Giacomo Poretti, it’s the story of three guys that share a love for Claudia, played by the adorable Paola Cortellesi who almost steals the show (not the easiest thing with those three).
Maledetto il Giorno Che T’Ho Incontrato – Two of my favorites, Carlo Verdone and Margherita Buy are two neurotic hypochondriacs with a love/hate relationship with one another – emphasis on the love.
Pranzo di Ferragosto – One of the most perfect movies I have every seen in my life. Written by, directed by, and starring Gianni Di Gregorio, it’s about Gianni, the Mamma’s boy, who entertains a group of little old ladies for the Ferragosto. Watch it instantly with Netflix.
Nessuno Puo Giudicarmi – A sweet romantic comedy with good looking people (Paola Cortellesi and Raoul Bova) ; what more could you want?