Generically attractive yet schizophrenic buddy pic.

A shyster doctor pretending to have charitable impulses turns up in an African field hospital in “The Easy Life,” Lucio Pellegrini’s generically attractive yet schizophrenic buddy pic showcasing stars Pierfrancesco Favino and Stefano Accorsi. Uncertain whether to be a social-activist drama, a love-triangle romantic comedy or a jet-set caper, “Life” perfunctorily charts an uneasy course around them all without leaving an impression. Local marketing is pushing the comedy angle, which probably explains the respectable receipts ($3.5 million after three weeks), but play outside Italo showcases won’t be easy.

When Mario (Favino) arrives in Kenya volunteering to help friend and fellow doctor Luca (Accorsi) at a rural hospital, everyone thinks he’s a do-gooder who’ll eventually lose his spoiled Western ways. Once Mario’s wife, Ginevra (Vittoria Puccini), appears, Luca discovers that Mario is on the lam following a major embezzlement scam; at the same time, auds learn that Luca’s noble service was triggered by guilt over an affair with Ginevra. Africa is a mere backdrop, exotic yet outside the scope of real engagement. Immature characters lurk behind the solid perfs, and songs are poorly integrated, but color values are flawless.

The Easy Life

Italy

Production

A Medusa release of a Fandango production, in collaboration with Medusa Film, Sky Cinema. (International sales: Fandango Portobello Sales, London.) Produced by Domenico Procacci. Directed by Lucio Pellegrini. Screenplay, Stefano Bises, Laura Paolucci, Andrea Salerno.

Crew

Camera (color), Gogo Bianchi; editor, Walter Fasano; music, Gabriele Roberto; production designer, Roberto de Angelis; costume designer, Silvia Nebbiolo. Reviewed at the Space Moderno, Rome, March 16, 2011. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Pierfrancesco Favino, Stefano Accorsi, Vittoria Puccini, Camilla Filippi, Angelo Orlando, Eliana Miglio, Souleymane Sow, Max Tardioli, Ivano Marescotti, Robin Hollister. (Italian, English dialogue)

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