Pairing Italian king of comedy Carlo Verdone and rising young star Silvio Muccino in a light laugher with a serious underbelly, "My Best Enemy" has leapt nimbly to the top of domestic charts, displacing "Night Before Finals" in another show of strength for local humor.

Pairing Italian king of comedy Carlo Verdone and rising young star Silvio Muccino in a light laugher with a serious underbelly, “My Best Enemy” has leapt nimbly to the top of domestic charts, displacing “Night Before Finals” in another show of strength for local humor. The chemistry works just fine in a fluidly told, cross-generational tale about the destructiveness of making enemies and the importance of family. With winning thesps and nothing provincial about it, this is one Italian comedy that could travel around Europe.

In his 20th film as director-star, Verdone puts on the self-important mask of Achille, manager of a hotel chain owned by his wife (Agnese Nano). When he fires a hotel maid for stealing, Achille earns the curse of her son, Orfeo (Muccino), who diabolically sets about destroying his personal and professional life. Orfeo doesn’t realize the girl he’s madly in love with (Ana Caterina Morariu) is Achille’s daughter — coincidentally, the same plot complication used in “Night Before Finals.” Giving the film some depth to counterweight its sentimental smoothness, several dramatic scenes capture the pain involved in tough family situations.

My Best Enemy

Italy

Production

A Filmauro release and production. Produced by Aurelio De Laurentiis. Executive producers, Maurizio Amati, Luigi De Laurentiis. Directed by Carlo Verdone. Screenplay, Silvio Muccino, Pasquale Plastino, Silvia Ranfagni, Verdone.

Crew

Camera (color), Danilo Desideri; editor, Claudio Di Mauro; music, Paolo Buonvino; production designer, Maurizio Marchitelli; costume designer, Tatiana Romanoff. Reviewed at Europa Cinema, Rome, March 17, 2006. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Carlo Verdone, Silvio Muccino, Ana Caterina Morariu, Agnese Nano, Paolo Triestino.

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