Review: ‘Piccolo Grande Amore’

The Vanzina brothers' Italo hit factory has struck pay dirt again with "Pretty Princess." Locally, this soporific spin on "Roman Holiday" for brain-dead mall rats is riding high with an under-18 crowd starved for home-grown entertainment. Teens elsewhere should find it palatable as tube fare.

The Vanzina brothers’ Italo hit factory has struck pay dirt again with “Pretty Princess.” Locally, this soporific spin on “Roman Holiday” for brain-dead mall rats is riding high with an under-18 crowd starved for home-grown entertainment. Teens elsewhere should find it palatable as tube fare.

Despite a smattering of 1990s plot ingredients — Euro royalty scandals, womanizing tennis pros, the supermodel arena as an antidote to recessionary blues — and a soundtrack crowded with last summer’s dance hits, pic feels about as in sync with the times as a reissue of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

To rescue his near-bankrupt fairy-tale principality of Liechtenhaus, Prince Max (David Warner) tries to marry off his rebellious daughter Sofia (Claudia Schiffer look-alike model Barbara Snellenburg) to a neighboring kingdom’s cloddish heir (Adam Barker). But Sofia takes off for a Sardinian vacation village, where she falls for a hunky windsurf instructor (Raoul Bova).

Meanwhile, a royal louse (Paul Freeman), eager to sell the palace to American developers for a casino-cum-amusement park, orchestrates Sofia’s kidnapping, and the surfer takes the rap. Ending is pure happy-ever-after.

Snellenburg and Bova’s looks can’t compensate for their wooden presence and lack of chemistry. Susannah York as an earthy Anglo queen and Liz Smith as her boozy mother make a game stab at enlivening the torpid material. However, Warner sleepwalks through it, and Freeman’s villainy is indifferently insipid. Tech credits are par.

HAWAII FEST

Piccolo Grande Amore

(ITALIAN)

Production

A Columbia/TriStar Italia release of a Video 80 production in association with Reteitalia. Produced by Carlo and Enrico Vanzina. Directed by Carlo Vanzina. Screenplay, Carlo and Enrico Vanzina, Cesare Frugoni.

Crew

Camera (Telecolor), Luigi Kuveiller; editor, Sergio Montanari; music, Simon Boswell; art direction, Tonino Zera; costume design, Roberta Guidi Di Bagno; sound (Dolby), Tommaso Quattrini, Ettore Mancini. Reviewed at Europa Cinema, Rome, Dec. 16, 1993. Running time: 111 MIN.

With

Sofia ... Barbara Snellenburg Marco ... Raoul Bova Prince Max ... David Warner Queen Christina ... Susannah York Otto Von Dix ... Paul Freeman Queen Mother ... Liz Smith
With: Alessio Avenali, Francesca Ventura, Adam Barker, Sarah Alexander, Bettina Giovannini.
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