[caption id="attachment_4958" align="aligncenter" width="584" caption="Biggio and Mandelli"][/caption] Italy has a bit of a reputation for homophobia; I'm just saying what I've heard and not what I've actually witnessed. I watch a lot of Italian movies, as you know, and if the movies are a mirror of society, I've felt that Italy's come a long way in accepting the gay community. Has the movie, I Soliti Idioti (the usual idiots) changed my mind? No - it's just one movie, but it's a very popular one. It was number one at the box office and now it's the number one rented DVD. The reviews, however, are dismal, and I, for one, am sorry I ever watched it. (I buy everything, though - even the bad ones.) I'm not a fan of over the top political correctness and I would not be in favor of any kind of government censorship of a movie like this, but it's my duty to inform you that I Soliti Idioti is disgusting on many fronts. It's sexist, racist, homophobic, and just generally unpleasant. The gay community has been speaking out against it, as it should, but I think that Ivan Scalfarotto, vice president of the Italian Democratic Party said it best: The things that we have seen and heard aren't acceptable in an civilized country. To say that gays are like women without periods offend not only homosexual, but also women, men and life. I Soliti Idioti speaks to kids at at time in which homophobic bullying wounds society, in which teenagers can't stand the weight of it all and commit suicide.
Vulgar, juvenile, insulting, predictable, disgusting, racist, sexist, homophobic are the things that I Soliti Idioti are; what it's not, is funny. Obviously made for the lowest possible common denominator, I Soliti - il film (the usual idiots, the film version) was released on February 22 and I received my copy in the US a few days ago. I'd been anxious to see it - this movie that is based on an Italian TV show did very well at the box office and was number one for a few weeks. When the yucky old man Ruggero (played in heavy makeup to appear much older by Francesco Mandelli ) finds out that his educated and sensitive son (Fabrizio Biggio ) is about to marry for love (we never see the bride to be, but she's evidently not very pretty) Ruggero sets forth to postpone the wedding and get his virgin son laid. And not just laid - LAID - he's got a scheme, and a bet, and the goal is to get his son in bed with a beautiful lingerie model. Mandelli and Biggio play other characters in vignettes scattered through the movie that involve others that are going to the wedding. One of them was ever-so-slightly amusing, with a guy that is trying to get his wedding gift to the ceremony and is thwarted again and again by the same disinterested bureaucrat (played by Biggio dressed up like a prissy middle-aged woman.) To go any further with this recounting of I Soliti Idioti is rather pointless; it's a stupid movie; can we just leave it at that? Take my word for it and save yourself the trouble - and thank me for watching this movie so that you didn't have to.