A middle-aged Roman's Faustian deal to realize his dreams propels the black comedy "Italian Dream."

A middle-aged Roman’s Faustian deal to realize his dreams propels the black comedy “Italian Dream.” Sandro Baldoni’s feature is polished but not entirely satisfying, with an eventual mean-spiritedness and lack of narrative ingenuity that renders it less than memorable. Still, it’s diverting enough to attract potential offshore tube and DVD sales.

Chrome-domed working stiff Antonio (Ivano Marescotti) toils as a hotel receptionist and places petty gambling bets, hoping to elevate himself, his wife (Silvia Cohen) and their two children by one day presiding over his own Italian eatery in Blighty. (He’s even built it in elaborate tabletop miniature.) That seems unlikely to happen until he crosses path with an eccentric millionaire (Teco Celio), who offers to make it all come true — if he kills the presumably life-weary rich man. Latter proves nerve-wrackingly insistent, dogging Antonio’s every step with his turbaned flunkies. Pic is nicely staged and acted, making amusing use of retro international pop hit “Quando, quando, quando” in numerous versions. But it lacks the weight to leave anything but a hollow, cynical aftertaste when its bedeviled protag’s travails all turn out to be in vain.

Italian Dream

Italy

Production

A Venerdi Cinema production. Produced by Gianfilipo Pedote, Sandro Baldoni, Francesco Virga, Johnny Dell'Orto, Zeno Fedeli. Executive producer, Pedote. Directed by Sandro Baldoni. Screenplay, Baldoni, John Durden Smith, from an original story by Baldoni.

Crew

Camera (color), Daniele Massaccesi; editor, Ilaria Fraioli; music, Carlo Siliotto; production designer, Gianni Silvestri, Cristiana Amendola. Reviewed at New Italian Cinema Events, San Francisco, Nov. 17, 2007. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Ivano Marescotti, Teco Celio, Silvia Cohen, Lenka Lanci, Carlo Croccolo, Sergio Bini, Pietrio Biondi, Sebastiano Filocamo, Paolo Pierobon, Marielle Valentini.

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