Marketed as a quirky comedy wrapped around a police thriller, “If I Must Be Honest” reps a tepid follow-up to helmer Davide Ferrario’s local hit, “After Midnight.” Buoyed by TV comic Luciana Littizzetto’s sympathetic personality, tale of a high-school teacher caught up in a colleague’s murder has difficulty balancing its parts, and falls flat in most areas. Strong local B.O. for the first three weeks is due to the dearth of Italo comedies and local popularity of Littizzetto, but latter won’t translate into offshore possibilities.
Lit teacher Adelaide (Littizzetto) is treading water in a lackluster marriage to Renzo (Dino Abbrescia), whose obsession with ’60s French singer Francoise Hardy — seen in pre-musicvid clips — passes as character filler. When deep-souled cop Gaetano (Neri Marcore) investigates the murder of one of Adelaide’s coworkers, Adelaide jumps into an affair with him, although the traditional status quo is reaffirmed by film’s end. Original novel’s detective elements are toned down to make room for Littizzetto’s comic riffs, and director Ferrario over-uses the device of speeded-up motion. Too-frequent scene changes increase the pic’s choppy feel.