Review: ‘If I Must Be Honest’

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 "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.

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.

If I Must Be Honest

Italy

Production

A Medusa release of an ITC Movie production, in association with Medusa Film. Produced by Beppe Caschetto. Directed by Davide Ferrario. Screenplay, Luciana Littizzetto, Anna Maria Pavignano, based on the novel "La collega tatuata" by Margherita Oggero.

Crew

Camera (color), Fabio Cianchetti; editors, Claudio Cormio, Massimiliano Trevis; music, Fabio Barovero; production designer, Francesca Bocca; costume designer, Cristina Francioni. Reviewed at Cinema Augustus, Rome, Nov. 1, 2004. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Luciana Littizzetto, Neri Marcore, Dino Abbrescia, Donatella Finocchiaro, Fabio Troiano, Mia Benedetta, Lidia Biondi, Romana Olivetti.
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