The Midas touch of the Vanzina brothers — director-writer Carlo and writer Enrico — has yet to work its magic on their Christmas comedy “Savages.” After it racked up a disappointing $ 1.5 million in its first two weeks, distrib Medusa is set to take the film much wider to recoup lost ground. True to the Vanzina formula, pic is seasoned with stereotypes, leering innuendoes and the latest Italian obsessions, targeting it squarely for local auds.
This Caribbean-vacation-gone-wrong featuring a bunch of unbearable Italos stranded on a desert isle makes “Gilligan’s Island” look like it was written by Noel Coward.
Film’s motley crew includes a playboy plastic surgeon (comic star Enzo Greggio), a nutty Neapolitan professor (Leo Gullotta) and his homely, unwed sister (Carmela Vincenti), a couple of Roman proles (Antonello Fassari, Cinzia Leone) and two sexy American models (Cash, Michele Merkin) whose idea of going native is to craft bikini tops out of coconuts.
Broad humor centers on things like a nasty squabble about who gets to sleep in which hut, the terror of hausfrau Leone when she finds a snake, and the unrequited lust of the men upon observing the scantily clad models.
The Vanzinas seem to have written this one in their sleep, and much of the dialogue and situations are as repetitive as they are flat. Though less out-and-out vulgar than the season’s smash, “Christmas Vacation ’95” (which is based on a Vanzina idea), “Savages” suffers from a starless cast and its brutal cynicism about human nature, which makes even leading man Greggio thoroughly dislikable.
The whole cast is pretty dim, concentrating on regional accents and political quirks to garner a few chuckles of recognition.