A tycoon hiding shady biz practices tricks his estranged son into heading his troubled companies in writer-director Pupi Avati’s colorless drama “The Youngest Son.” After more than 40 spells in the helmer’s chair, Avati has settled into being a proficient but conventional director whose use of post-synched dialogue, back projection and soft-edged characterizations gives the term “old-fashioned” a bad name. Bankrolled by the Berlusconi-owned Medusa group, this tale of a compromised captain of industry saw B.O. drop significantly in its second week, despite the casting of some big names.
Wealthy industrialist Luciano (Christian De Sica) marries Fiamma (Laura Morante) to secure ownership of properties and then promptly abandons her and their two pre-wedlock kids. Years later, his empire is crumbling and CFO Bollino (Luca Zingaretti) convinces Luciano to make nice with long-lost son Baldo (Nicola Nocella) so they can sign over toxic debts to the clueless chump. Any indictment of cold-hearted commerce is emasculated by two-dimensional scripting, though De Sica, here in a non-comedic role, does better than the rest. Nice locales give the eye something to contemplate when the dubbing doesn’t jive.