What does Checco Zalone have in common with Donald Drumpf? Nobody admits liking him, but he’s killing it just the same.
“Please tell me that you don’t like Checco Zalone!” an Italian friend implored me. Sometimes I admit that I do like him and sometimes I don’t, depending. Usually I find myself meekly defending him. Whatever you think of him, the $$$$ speaks for itself:
What’s the secret of his success?
“Simple”, says Checco, “the key is that people identify with me. Whether they like me or not, they found things in our films that belong to them.”
“I realize that this isn’t a good enough explanation,”said Checco,”and now I’ll just have to invoke the team and the talent. Enough with this modesty. We three, me, Gennaro (Nunziante, director) and (producer Pietro) Valsecchi, we are an unbeatable team.”
In a New York Times Op-Ed Beppe Severgnini said that Checco “tapped into something in the national psyche,” so why will no one admit that his psyche has been tapped into? And me, with no national psyche to tap into at all, why am I laughing?
The bigger question; will other Americans laugh?
I laughed at Kristen Wiig and terrible diarrhea jokes in Bridesmaids. I laugh at Will Ferrell running around in underwear that is too small for him in practically every movie he’s in. Why wouldn’t I laugh at Checco’s political incorrectness?
In answer to Davide Turrini, a journalist for Il Fatto Quotidiano who attributes Checco’s success to an audience that “wants to laugh and not think too much”, I say first, what’s so wrong with that once in a while? And beyond that, I’m not even sure if that’s true.
Checco is stupid, racist, sexist, and a little homophobic, but the films don’t glorify those bad things. They mock them. It’s satire. At the end of the film, Checco, ALWAYS, learns something and is a better man. What am I not getting? What is so darned horrifying about Checco Zalone’s success?
Checco, come to North America; We LOVE funny (but a little dumb) movies over here.