A Neapolitan gambler tries to mend his ways in view of his daughter’s upcoming nuptials in Vincenzo Terracciano’s plodding drama “Bets and Wedding Dresses.” Euro stars Sergio Castellitto and Martina Gedeck, reunited again eight years after the delicious Teuton arthouse romantic comedy “Bella Martha,” struggle to add a little luster to a downbeat story about chance and luck that’s as predictable as the winner of a one-horse race. Beyond home turf, where it was released Sept. 18, the pic’s only safe bet is the tube.

Franco (Castellitto), head of the working-class Campanella family, “invests” far too often in games of chance. The Campanellas are saving for daughter Luisa’s (Raffaella Rea) wedding, but with Franco’s habits, les jeux sont faits from the start. As frau Campanella, Gedeck has little to do but moan about her husband’s behavior in German and (impeccable) Italian, while the normally strong Castellitto is just adequate here. The only complex character is son Giovanni (Paolo Briguglia, impressive), who is a talented card player but hates his dad’s addiction. Visuals are moody; the score could sub for muzak in Italo eateries abroad. Other tech contributions are pro.

Bets and Wedding Dresses


  • Production: An 01 Distribution release of a Kubla Khan, Camaleo, Rai Cinema presentation and production. (International sales: Rai Trade, Rome.) Produced by Umberto Massa, Roberto Cipullo. Directed by Vincenzo Terracciano. Screenplay, Terracciano, Laura Sabatino; story, Terracciano, Sabatino, Giuseppe Improta.
  • Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Fabio Cianchetti; editor, Marco Spoletini; music, Nicola Piovani; production designer, Battani & De Marino; costume designer, Maurizio Millenotti. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Sept. 11, 2009. Original title: Tris di donne e abiti nuziali. Italian, German dialogue. Running time: 102 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Sergio Castellitto, Martina Gedeck, Paolo Briguglia, Raffaella Rea, Salvatore Cantalupo, Paolo Calabresi, Iaia Forte.
  • Music By: