Review: ‘What a Beautiful Day’

Unapologetically formulaic comedy is uninterested in challenging auds and never truly confronts stereotypes.

Local biz is beyond boffo for laffer “What a Beautiful Day,” helmer Gennaro Nunziante’s second outing with TV comic Checco Zalone. After only two weeks onscreen, the pic, promoted as a politically incorrect comedy designed to put prejudices in check, has become Italy’s top-grossing homegrown production, raking in $42 million and counting. Yet this unapologetically formulaic comedy, about a proudly thick-headed security guard who gets romantically entangled with a half-hearted Islamic terrorist, is uninterested in challenging auds and never truly confronts stereotypes. Zalone’s cinema career is assured, but most outsiders will wonder about all the fuss.

Southerner Checco (Zalone, real name Luca Medici) dreams of entering the military police, but the best his mafia-like family connections can get him is security detail at Milan’s cathedral. His bottomless stupidity makes him the ultimate patsy for Sufien (Mehdi Mahdloo) and sis Farah (Tunisian-born Nabiha Akkari) when they plan to bomb the cathedral’s famed rooftop. Corruption, the church, terrorism and the north-south divide all come in for blunt ribbing, but there’s no bite or romantic chemistry. Zalone and supporting thesps milk yuks from established schtick, all contained in an over-stretched package.

What a Beautiful Day

Italy

Production

A Medusa Film release of a TaoDue production, in collaboration with Medusa Film, Sky Cinema. Produced by Pietro Valsecchi. Directed by Gennaro Nunziante. Screenplay, Checcho Zalone, Nunziante.

Crew

Camera (color), Federico Masiero; editor, Pietro Morana; music, Luca Medici; production designer, Sonia Peng; costume designer, Mary Montalto. Reviewed at Cinema Adriano, Rome, Jan. 18, 2011. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Checco Zalone, Nabiha Akkari, Ivano Marescotti, Rocco Papaleo, Michele Alhaique, Rita Del Piano, Anna Bellato, Mehdi Mahdloo, Luigi Luciano, Caparezza, Cinzia Mascoli, Giustina Buonomo, Bruno Armando, Anis Gharbi, Hossein Taheri, Matteo Azchirvani.

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