The quirky postal workers of "Welcome to the South" reverse direction, arriving with more quirk yet less zing in helmer Luca Miniero's follow-up, "Welcome to the North."

The quirky postal workers of “Welcome to the South” reverse direction, arriving with more quirk yet less zing in helmer Luca Miniero’s follow-up, “Welcome to the North.” The earlier pic, adapted from French laffer “Welcome to the Sticks,” raked in $38 million, a figure this rematch may struggle to surpass despite an initial print run of 800 copies. Changing scripters from the first installment probably wasn’t a good idea, as “North” feels tired in ways not limited to the redux premise. Still, B.O. will be boffo, though again offshore chances are hampered by foregrounded regionality.

Following his eye-opening experience in the south, Alberto (Claudio Bisio) returns home to Milan with a promotion. Buddy Mattia (Alessandro Siani), from the laidback post office in Campania, gets transferred to Milan just when a new worker-efficiency system is introduced that makes everyone rebel. Mattia proves to wife Maria (Valentina Lodovini, playing the only character rather than caricature) that he’s got gumption, and Alberto convinces wife Silvia (Angela Finocchiaro) that he’s not all business. Skewering north/south stereotypes still gets honest chuckles, but half-hearted slapstick struggles for laughs. Visuals are upbeat though unremarkable.

Welcome to the North

Italy

Production

A Medusa release, presentation and production in collaboration with Cattleya, Sky Cinema, Mediaset Premium. Produced by Riccardo Tozzi, Giovanni Stabilini, Marco Chimenz, Francesca Longardi. Executive producers, Antonella Iovino, Dany Boon. Directed by Luca Miniero. Screenplay, Miniero, Fabio Bonifacci, adapted from the film "Welcome to the Sticks" directed by Dany Boon, written by Boon, Franck Magnier, Alexandre Charlot.

Crew

Camera (color), Paolo Carnera, editor, Valentina Mariani; music, Umberto Scipione; production designer, Paola Comencini, costume designer, Eleanora Rella. Reviewed at Casa del Cinema, Rome, Jan. 12, 2012. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Claudio Bisio, Alessandro Siani, Angela Finocchiaro, Valentina Lodovini, Nando Paone, Giacomo Rizzo, Paolo Rossi, Nunzia Schiano, Salvatore Misticone, Fulvio Falzarano, Gianmarco Pozzoli, Katia Follesa, Teco Celio. (Italian dialogue, Cilento dialect, Milanese dialect)

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