Heading for the $ 6 million mark in its second week of release, nose to nose with chart leader "Eyes Wide Shut," Filmauro's smash comedy "Fans" is the latest to exploit Italy's fanatical love of pro soccer, which airs on TV nearly every night. Shot by broad-comedy king Neri Parenti, with his stable of irresistibly funny thesps, pic only slightly exaggerates the extremes to which normal Italians will go when rooting for their team. Astutely aimed at local auds who appreciate dialect jokes, some of them vulgar, sexist and offensive, film has little pickup appeal.

Heading for the $ 6 million mark in its second week of release, nose to nose with chart leader “Eyes Wide Shut,” Filmauro’s smash comedy “Fans” is the latest to exploit Italy’s fanatical love of pro soccer, which airs on TV nearly every night. Shot by broad-comedy king Neri Parenti, with his stable of irresistibly funny thesps, pic only slightly exaggerates the extremes to which normal Italians will go when rooting for their team. Astutely aimed at local auds who appreciate dialect jokes, some of them vulgar, sexist and offensive, film has little pickup appeal.

Familiarity with the Italo actors certainly increases the thrill, and accounts for film’s huge grosses. Many athletic stars turn up in cameos, and soccer superstar Diego Armando Maradona appears in a minor role. Loosely interwoven sketches profile various fans: A Milan cabby (Massimo Boldi), who has installed a satellite dish on his cab, is co-opted by Rome fans (Maurizio Mattioli and Angelo Bernabucci); a juve hooligan (Diego Abatantuono) gets banned from stadiums; a doctor (Christian De Sica) and pilot (Enzo Iacchetti) forbid their kids to marry because they support rival teams; a Neapolitan thief (Nino D’Angelo) returns the goods when he realizes it’s Maradona’s house he’s robbed. Tech work is strictly functional.

Fans

(COMEDY -- ITALIAN)

Production

A Filmauro Distribuzione release of a Filmauro production. Produced by Aurelio De Laurentiis. Directed by Neri Parenti. Screenplay, Parenti, Marco Martani, Fausto Brizzi, Enrico Vanzina. Camera (color), Lorenzo Battaglia; editor, Alberto Gallitti; music, Bruno Zambrini; production designer, Stilde Ambruzzi. Reviewed at Europa Cinema, Rome, Oct. 13, 1999. Original title: Tifosi. Running time: 120 MIN.

With

With: Massimo Boldi, Christian De Sica, Diego Abatantuono, Enzo Iacchetti, Nino D'Angelo, Maurizio Mattioli, Angelo Bernabucci, Diego Armando Maradona.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more