Carlo Verdone’s “Let’s Not Keep in Touch” figures as a major disappointment. Somberly comic tale of a cynical TV star’s slow-combustion romance with a young paraplegic is often quietly affecting, but Verdone’s 13th outing reps an unlucky venture. The Roman actor/director’s staunch following, however, should ensure pic a brisk run locally.
Verdone plays the unscrupulous host of a reality show that trades in human misery. The unlikely lovers meet when a wheelchair-bound member of the studio audience (Asia Argento) attacks him on air for capitalizing on other folks’ tragedies. His inept self-defense fires national ire and the show is axed, leaving him to face up to a friendless, empty existence.
Feeling guilty, Argento sets up a rapprochement date. Rest of pic charts the obstacle-strewn course of their budding relationship, although the script establishes no credible basis for duo’s attraction.
Verdone’s earlier “Curse the Day I Met You” squeezed sweetly awkward comedy from a seemingly mismatched couple’s thwarted romance. This one plumbs deeper into similar terrain, gently making a case for unconditional love. However, the two-character focus is muddied by oafish humor in surrounding scenes, plus lame digs at Italo TV via Verdone’s attempts to revive his career by refereeing a mud-slinging match between unfaithful partners on a low-rent regional web. Argento is not entirely convincing when required to heat up and register anger, but the young thesp’s sullen beauty and unstudied intensity make her a captivating presence.