A genial schlub pining for his ex-wife conjures up the spirit of Marilyn Monroe and asks her for relationship advice in helmer Leonardo Pieraccioni's mild biannual Christmas entry, "Marilyn & I."

A genial schlub pining for his ex-wife conjures up the spirit of Marilyn Monroe and asks her for relationship advice in helmer Leonardo Pieraccioni’s mild biannual Christmas entry, “Marilyn & I.” Pic sticks to the funnyman-helmer’s usual formula, where an unambitious Joe tries to win a beautiful woman with help from a coterie of friends, but the interactions play like TV skits, and the unchallenging blueprint itself has become faded. The Dec. 18 release drew a nice $2.6 million opening weekend on 558 screens, but only around half that of Christian De Sica’s rival holiday attraction, “Christmas in Beverly Hills.”

Gualtiero (Pieraccioni) is still in love with his ex, Ramona (Barbara Tabita), but she’s in a relationship with blustering circus impresario Pasquale (Biagio Izzo). At a seance, he calls forth Marilyn Monroe (Suzie Kennedy, dubbed), who tries to patch things up between the broken couple — only he (and auds) can hear and see her spirit. The Monroe character is, of course, just a tired caricature rather than the real thing, and comic situations are feel-good but less than zingy. Bland lensing and flat lighting offer no lift.

Marilyn & I

Italy

Production

A Medusa release of a Levante, Medusa Film presentation of a Levante production, in association with Medusa Film. Executive producer, Alessandro Calosci. Directed by Leonardo Pieraccioni. Screenplay, Pieraccioni, Giovanni Veronesi.

Crew

Camera (color), Mark Melville; editor, Stefano Chierchie; music, Gianluca Sibaldi; production designer, Francesco Frigeri; costume designer, Claudio Cordaro. Reviewed at Cinema Moderno, Rome, Dec. 20, 2009. Original title: Io & Marilyn. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Leonardo Pieraccioni, Suzie Kennedy, Biagio Izzo, Barbara Tabita, Rocco Papaleo, Marta Gastini, Francesco Pannofino, Francesco Guccini, Massimo Ceccherini, Luca Laurenti.
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