Danny DeVito is rediscovering his Italian roots.
The actor-director is all over Italian screens in local romantic comedy “Christmas in Love,” in which he plays the lover of a twentysomething hottie who disapproves of her father’s extramarital fling with a young model.
Pic is the 21st in producer Aurelio De Laurentiis‘ Christmas franchise of trashy, crowdpleasing holiday comedies, and marks DeVito’s return to cinema Italiano after a 30-year absence. He appeared in the 1971 Sophia Loren starrer “Lady Liberty” at the start of his career.
Despite regular critical thrashings — “Christmas in Love” contains ample doses of Viagra humor, plastic surgery cracks and frolicking in the snow — De Laurentiis’ holiday pics are faves with Italo auds. “Christmas,” released Dec. 17, hit No. 2 at the Italo box office with a $15 million holiday haul.
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This year DeVito and soap stud Ronn Moss (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) were brought in to revamp the well-worn formula, the idea being that it should evolve from vulgar slapstick to more sophisticated below-the-belt trash.
De Laurentiis and DeVito are also mulling a U.S. version, with DeVito possibly helming an English-lingo adaptation.
“We’re working it out. It has a good ironic twist. I think it would be funny in the United States, if we got the right people,” DeVito says.