×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Casomai

Alessandro D'Alatri switches to commercial territory closer to his day job as an advertising director with "Casomai." Slick, snappy and backed by a billboard campaign that could be selling Benetton babywear, this appealing relationship drama colored with understated observational comedy examines the toll that friends, family, peer pressures, career and social demands can take on love.

With:
Stefania - Stefania Rocca
Tommaso - Fabio Volo

After his melancholy drama of obsessive love, “No Skin” (1994), and New Age biblical saga “The Garden of Eden” (1998), Alessandro D’Alatri switches to commercial territory closer to his day job as an advertising director with “Casomai.” Slick, snappy and backed by a billboard campaign that could be selling Benetton babywear, this appealing relationship drama colored with understated observational comedy examines the toll that friends, family, peer pressures, career and social demands can take on love. Already emerging as a manifesto for Italians in their 30s torn between remaining footloose or starting a family, the film seems headed for a decent run locally after opening April 30. Offshore chances appear strongest on TV.

Title is an untranslatable Italian conjunction whose meanings range from “perhaps” to “if” to “in case” to “in the eventuality.” Those uncertainties represent the unknown factors to be considered by a young couple as they commit to each other in marriage. The couple in question is Milanese advertising exec Tommaso (Fabio Volo) and make-up artist Stefania (Stefania Rocca). Providing D’Alatri with a recurring visual motif, their view of matrimony going in is likened to figure-skating: maintaining a precarious balance on a slippery surface, accompanied by music that doesn’t always fit.

Tommaso and Stefania’s wedding ceremony is transformed by free-thinking priest Don Livio (Gennaro Nunziate) into a kind of open forum not unlike countless Italian TV talkshows in which relationship issues are thrashed out by guests and a studio audience. While the device feels like a construct, it represents a serviceable frame for the more convincing relationship chronicle. Action rewinds and fast-forwards from the church service, recapping the couple’s courtship, pre-marriage cohabitation, early days of wedded bliss and arrival of their first child.

The couple’s harmony is increasingly undermined as their social life disappears, physical passion gives way to parental fatigue, work makes demands on Tommaso’s time, an unwanted second pregnancy forces a painful decision and infidelity causes the bond to break. But as divorce lawyers are called in and the climate gets ugly, D’Alatri unveils a narrative ruse that allows the lovers to profit from broader knowledge and experience.

Prompting more wry smiles than outright laughs, along with bittersweet pangs of recognition, the screenplay by D’Alatri and Anna Pavignano pushes plenty of universal buttons but fails to get under the skin to the degree of films like “Lantana,” which looked at relationship crises from far more indirect angles. However, pic remains entertaining, thanks in part to the easy chemistry and affability of the romantic leads and to natural-sounding dialogue that avoids the Italian tendency for overworked prose.

Rocca comes across as softer, warmer and more appealing than usual, and popular TV and radio personality Volo makes a creditable transition to the bigscreen. Large supporting cast registers more as a part-protective, part-predatory force surrounding the couple than as individuals. While this serves the film’s overall purpose, development of some more distinctive characters would have given the drama more body.

D’Alatri’s familiarity with the advertising world gives an enjoyable insider feel to scenes of Stefania and Tommaso’s professional lives. That background also is evident in the crisp, fluid camerawork, limber editing, inventive fantasy sequences and a spirited score by Pivio and Aldo De Scalzi that touches on calypso, Middle East and Italian themes.

Casomai

Italy

Production: A 01 Distribution release of a RAI Cinema/Marco Valsania presentation of a Magic Moments production for RAI Cinema. (International sales: RAI Trade, Rome.) Produced by Marco Valsania. Directed by Alessandro D'Alatri.

Crew: Screenplay, Anna Pavignano, D'Alatri. Camera (color), Agostino Castiglioni; editor, Osvaldo Bargero; music, Pivio & Aldo De Scalzi; art director, Paolo Monzeglio; costume designer, Francesca Casciello; sound (Dolby Digital), Maurizio Argentieri; assistant director, Bernardo Barilli; casting, Monica Marchesini. Reviewed at Eden Cinema, Rome, April 22, 2002. Running time: 114 MIN.

With: Stefania - Stefania Rocca
Tommaso - Fabio Volo
With:Gennaro Nunziate, Mino Manni, Maurizio Scattorin, Sara D'Amario, Paola Bechis, Andrea Collavino, Ada Treves, Michele Bottini, Tatiana Lepore, Francesco Migliaccio, Andrea Jonasson, Barbara Fusar Poli, Maurizio Margaglio.

More Film

  • 'The Dirt' Review: A Mötley Crüe

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

  • Zac Efron Amanda Seyfried

    Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Animated Scooby-Doo Film as Fred and Daphne

    Zac Efron has signed on to voice Fred Jones while Amanda Seyfried will voice Daphne Blake in Warner Bros.’ animated Scooby-Doo feature film “Scoob.” It was revealed earlier this month that Will Forte had been set to voice Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, while Gina Rodriguez would be voicing Velma Dinkley. The mystery-solving teens and their talking [...]

  • 'Staff Only' Review: Cultures And Values

    Film Review: 'Staff Only'

    Marta (Elena Andrada) is 17, from Barcelona and alternately bored and mortified to be on a Christmas vacation to Senegal with her estranged dad, Manel (Sergi López), and annoying little brother, Bruno (Ian Samsó). For her, the freedoms of imminent adulthood, such as the occasional poolside mojito, are tantalizing close but still technically forbidden, rather [...]

  • Rocketman

    Candid 'Rocketman' Dares to Show Elton John as 'Vulnerable,' 'Damaged,' 'Ugly'

    Elton John movie “Rocketman” dares to portray the singer’s personality early in his career to have been, at times, “ugly,” Taron Egerton – who plays the pop star – told an audience at London’s Abbey Road Studios Friday, following a screening of 15 minutes of footage from the film. It is a candid portrayal, showing [...]

  • Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck's Addiction Drama Set for Awards-Season Release

    Warner Bros. has given Ben Affleck’s untitled addiction drama an awards-season-friendly release date of Oct. 18. The film, which has been known previously as “The Has-Been” and “Torrance,” is directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars Affleck as a former basketball player struggling with addiction, which has led to him losing his wife. As part of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content