×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Rome Film Review: ‘Soap Opera’

Alessandro Genovesi delivers a bland choral story about oddball neighbors that’s characterized by formulaic brands of comedy and schmaltz.

With:
Fabio de Luigi, Cristiana Capotondi, Ricky Memphis, Chiara Francini, Elisa Sednaoui, Alessandro Besentini (Ale), Francesco Villa (Franz), Caterina Guzzanti, Diego Abatantuono.  
Release Date:
Oct 23, 2014

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3358470/reference

Alessandro Genovesi’s laffer “Soap Opera,” the opening-night film at the Rome Film Festival, would seem an ideal expression of the event’s announced shift toward populist fare, though these yuks won’t be slaying ’em in the aisles. Genovesi (“The Worst Week of My Life”) delivers a choral story about oddball neighbors in much the way that soaps create artificial hothouse worlds, only his formulaic approach, doling out a little comedy and a little schmaltz, results in a very minor affair. Locals may be attuned to this sort of blandness, but outside Italy, no one will bother.

On a snowy New Year’s Eve, Paolo (Ricky Memphis) arrives in crisis at the apartment of best friend Francesco (Fabio de Luigi): His g.f. is about to give birth, but he’s wondering whether a passionate kiss he gave Francesco when they were cub scouts means he’s gay. Francesco remains dejected following his break-up with the equally depressed Anna (Cristiana Capotondi), who ended things when she learned he was cheating on her.

That night, a new neighbor kills himself, bringing police inspector Gaetano (Diego Abatantuono) to call on the residents. Soap actress Alice (Chiara Francini) loves men in uniform, so at least she’s happy. Also in the building are twin brothers Gianni and Mario (popular comedians Ale and Franz), the latter wheelchair-bound after a recent unspecified accident caused by Gianni. A surprise visit from the dead neighbor’s ex-g.f., Francesca (Elisa Sednaoui), stirs something in Francesco, but he’s really still in love with Anna.

Every woman here is a caricature: They’re either hysterical, like Francesco’s one-night stand, Patrizia (Caterina Guzzanti, mugging), sexually voracious like Alice, or blankly nutty like Anna. Even Francesca is a stereotype of the beautiful Parisian resident whose “normality” makes her fit only for fantasy. As for comedy, the pic might succeed in milking a few chuckles from middle-of-the-road auds for whom the sight of fraternal twins wearing identical outfits tickles the funny bone, or who might guffaw at suggestive lines about the plume on the inspector’s hat. Riffing on the artificiality of soaps to find genuine emotion underneath could have been a good idea, but the concept is far more ambitious than the execution.

Stylistically, the most appealing element comes from a couple of fixed shots of the apartment building, its facade off, looking like a doll’s house. Genovesi overuses a couple of tracks from talented pop singer Lara Martelli; otherwise, Andrea Farri’s soppy score starts and ends exactly where one expects.

Rome Film Review: 'Soap Opera'

Reviewed at Rome Film Festival (opener), Oct. 16, 2014. Running time: 86 MIN.

Production: (Italy) A Medusa (in Italy) release of a Colorado Film production, in collaboration with Wildside, Medusa, in association with Credit Agricole Vita, Black Rock, Valmora Acqua Minerale. Produced by Maurizio Totti, Alessandro Usai. Coproducers, Mario Gianani, Lorenzo Mieli.

Crew: Directed, written by Alessandro Genovesi. Camera (color), Federico Masiero; editor, Claudio di Mauro; music, Andrea Farri; production designer, Tonino Zera; art director, Roberto Caruso; costume designer, Monica Gaetani; sound, Tullio Morganti, Roberto Cappannelli; first assistant director, Miguel Lombardi.  

With: Fabio de Luigi, Cristiana Capotondi, Ricky Memphis, Chiara Francini, Elisa Sednaoui, Alessandro Besentini (Ale), Francesco Villa (Franz), Caterina Guzzanti, Diego Abatantuono.  

More Film

  • 'Shazam!' Review: Zachary Levi is Pure

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D6-2160.cr2

    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, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content