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In the first few minutes of Sydney Sibilia’s ‘Smetto Quando Voglio’ ( I Can Quit When I Want), I thought, “Oh wow, this director must be a Breaking Bad fan!”; but I was wrong. Smetto Quando Voglio is a hilarious comedy and a story all it’s own. Breaking Bad’s Walter and Smetto Quando voglio’s Pietro are in the same boat; two frustrated college professors who are highly educated and bright but can’t get ahead decide to use their knowledge of chemistry to make money.
One day Pietro (played by the very good looking Edoardo Leo) chases down a boy he’s been tutoring, trying to get him to pay for the lessons he’s been giving him, and he finds himself at a night club. The boy’s been telling him he’s a penniless orphan, but that’s a lie; the kid spends more in one day on designer drugs than Pietro makes in a week.
In a flash, biology professor Pietro sees an opportunity. He’s sure he can design his own drug; one that has none of the substances that are banned by the Italian government. It’s still illegal to sell what he comes up with, but that’s a minor technicality.
His criminal organization is in need of other skills, so he rounds up all his out of work friends, from a math genius to chemists to help him, and at first, it’s as if they have struck gold.
Sibilia says that he got the idea one day when he heard two Italian streetcleaners talking about philosophy, and when he asked them, he found out that they were university professors that couldn’t find jobs. He decided he wanted to tell the story of so many young people in Italy today.
Sibilia obviously loves American comedies and has done a great job creating an Italian one with what he’s learned from them. The drug store robbery had American audiences in stitches.
These days the economic crisis in Italy is fodder for Italian filmmakers, and this is a fresh, funny take on a serious situation. Sibilia is barely over 30 and will surely be a director to watch for in the future. In fact, he says that we can look forward to Smetto Quando Voglio, the sequel!