×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Love Returns

Sergio Rubini fails to bring a script to life in his directing effort, "Love Returns." Tale of a self-centered actor preparing to direct his first film, but who is struck down by illness, with a friendly ghost thrown in for good measure. A top Italo cast is wasted on a film unable to find a convincing tone or plausible storyline.

With:
Luca - Fabrizio Bentivoglio Giacomo - Sergio Rubini Silvia - Margherita Buy Lena - Giovanna Mezzogiorno Federica - Mariangela Melato

Sergio Rubini, who has a moving moment in “The Passion of the Christ” playing the Good Thief, fails to bring a confused script to life in his sixth directing effort, “Love Returns.” Tale of a self-centered actor preparing to direct his first film, but who is struck down by illness, recalls everything from Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” to Denys Arcand’s “The Barbarian Invasions,” with a friendly ghost thrown in for good measure. A top Italo cast is wasted on a film unable to find a convincing tone or plausible storyline, forecasting unexciting box office returns for this WB presentation. The hysteria-ridden funeral of a young girl in Italy’s southern region of Puglia starts pic off on a strident note. Much later, it becomes clear this is the native region of the hero and his family. Gun-toting spacemen in an underground future world appear next, but they’re revealed to be part of a film set where Luca (Fabrizio Bentivoglio), a popular actor, is working. After a cranky fight with a producer for whom he’s supposed to be making his directing debut, the mood shifts to drama as he starts spitting up blood in his trailer and is taken to the hospital for tests.

Finally ensconced in an expensive Milan clinic, Luca is forced to slow down and, fighting his worst fears, watch his friends, family and colleagues perform the rituals of cheering up a patient who seems headed for the other world. Among them are his nervous ex-wife (Margherita Buy) and hyper young girlfriend (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), both famous actresses; a comic doctor from his hometown (Rubini); and an assistant (Antonio Prisco) who is secretly in love with him. Meanwhile, the dead girl from the first scene returns to their native village as a ghost whose apparent task it is to help him.

These and many more story elements are incautiously strung together in narrative cacophony. Bentivoglio, rather haplessly placed at the center of it all, predictably arcs from childish egoism to mature understanding. Other thesps, like the normally sensitive Mezzogiorno and Rubini, overshoot the mark in silly caricatures, while a series of famous faces — Umberto Orsini, Mariangela Melato, Michele Placido — turn up in irritating cameos.

Tech credits are eclectic and whimsical.

Love Returns

Italy

Production: A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation of a Biancafilm production in association with Warner Bros. Produced by Donatella Botti. Directed by Sergio Rubini. Screenplay, Rubini, Domenico Starnone, Carla Cavalluzzi.

Crew: Camera (color), Paolo Carnera; editor, Massimo Fiocchi; music, Ivan Iusco, Pierluigi Ferrandini; production designer, Luca Gobbi; sound (Dolby Digital), Tullio Morganti. Reviewed at Warner Bros. Moderno Cinema, Rome, March 25, 2004. Running time: 115 MIN.

With: Luca - Fabrizio Bentivoglio Giacomo - Sergio Rubini Silvia - Margherita Buy Lena - Giovanna Mezzogiorno Federica - Mariangela MelatoWith: Sergio Rubini, Antonio Prisco, Alberto Rubini, Giorgia Pranzo, Umberto Orsini, Simona Marchini, Michele Placido.

More Film

  • HAF Doubles Work-in-Progress Lineup With Documentary

    HAF Doubles Work-in-Progress Lineup With Documentary Category

    A new documentary component means that the work-in-progress section of this year’s Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum will double from 10 to 20 projects. The selection includes Ruby Yang (“The Blood of Yingzhou District”) and Hou Hsiao-hsien (“The Assassin”) as documentary producers, and Brillante Mendoza (“Kinatay”) as producer on the fiction side. More [...]

  • 'Raging Bull' Editor Thelma Schoonmaker to

    Thelma Schoonmaker, Martin Scorsese's Longtime Editor, to Receive BAFTA Fellowship

    Three-time Oscar winner Thelma Schoonmaker, best-known for her editing work on Martin Scorsese movies such as “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas,” will receive the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ highest accolade, the BAFTA Fellowship, at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Feb. 10. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas [...]

  • Singapore Actor Aloysius Pang, 28, Dies

    Singaporean Actor Aloysius Pang, 28, Dies While on Military Service

    Singaporean actor Aloysius Pang died Wednesday of injuries sustained while on military training in New Zealand. He was 28. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas Show With Masterful 'Jazz & Piano' TV Review: 'Russian Doll' Pang was best known for his appearance in movies “Young & Fabulous” and “Timeless Love.” He [...]

  • Alibaba Lends $100 Million to Huayi

    Alibaba Lends $100 Million to Huayi Bros. in Film Investment Expansion

    Alibaba Pictures Group, the film business arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has struck a strategic cooperation deal with leading film studio Huayi Bros. The deal includes a $103 million (RMB700 million) loan to Huayi. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas Show With Masterful 'Jazz & Piano' TV Review: 'Russian Doll' [...]

  • Netflix Buys Taiwan Black Comedy 'Dear

    Netflix Buys Taiwan Black Comedy 'Dear Ex'

    Netflix has added to its roster of Mandarin-language content with the acquisition of rights to Taiwanese dark comedy “Dear Ex.” The award-winning film will play out from Feb. 1. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas Show With Masterful 'Jazz & Piano' TV Review: 'Russian Doll' The story involves a recently bereaved [...]

  • Audrey Wells

    Film News Roundup: Audrey Wells Scholarships Launched by UCLA, China's Pearl Studio

    In today’s film news roundup, Pearl Studio and UCLA start a “Say Yes!” scholarship in memory of Audrey Well; Gina Lollobrigida and Claudia Cardinale are honored; and the “General Magic” documentary gets bought. More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas Show With Masterful 'Jazz & Piano' TV Review: 'Russian Doll' SCHOLARSHIPS UNVEILED [...]

  • Honey Boy Knock Down the House

    Sundance Hot Titles List: 13 Buzzy Films That Have Buyers Talking

    There’s a good reason that much of Hollywood braves the thin mountain air each year to make the trek to the Sundance Film Festival, and it’s not to check out the nearby ski slopes. The annual launch of the indie film gathering brings with it the possibility of discovering the next big thing in moviemaking. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content