Second foray behind the lens by actor, playwright and legit director Pino Quartullo is a vigorous role-reversal comedy centered on a thirtyish banker’s obsession with becoming a father. Attractively cast and stylishly packaged, “Women Don’t Want To” sashayed to moderate hit status locally and could find a commercial niche offshore with the right push.
The urge of Luca (Quartullo) to produce progeny isn’t shared by his partner (Lucrezia Lante Della Rovere). They split up, and Luca’s quest for a potential propagator has him resurrecting old dates, then puncturing condoms before bedding one-night-stands. In a clever jab at technology’s headway into emotional territory, his paternal desires are temporarily assuaged by a video baby.
A parallel story follows a lesbian floriculturist couple (Antonella Ponziani, Rosalinda Celentano) on the hunt for some male parenting. Luca meets the duo when, having reluctantly engaged a surrogate mother, he checks into a McDonald’s-like insemination center to deposit sperm for the job. The trio strike a deal, but all the anxiety has made him sterile.
Aside from momentary lapses into good-natured vulgarity, the comedy is fresh, sexy and fast. The chaos that reigns while Quartullo holds the center at gunpoint gives rise to big laughs as the two women ransack vaults for the most desirable donors.
Jauntily appealing perfs by Ponziani and Celentano as the lesbian duo make the easygoing treatment of same-sex couples (rare in Italian mainstream comedy) even more refreshing.
As Quartullo’s partner, Lante Della Rovere swiftly captures the obsessive 1990s urbanite, and Francesca Reggiani is archly funny as a bank colleague with rabid homemaking ambitions.
Quartullo also scores, likably contrasting his brash, smooth-guy appearance with the character’s broody fixation.
Stefano Reali’s music, along with songs by Queen and the Spin Doctors, keeps things moving at a sustained clip. Crisp lensing and snappy production design lend a slick visual sheen, and costumer Raoul Settimelli outfits the cast in effortless Italo chic.