Gennaro Nunziante’s new comedy Che Bella Giornata is a feel-good summer film that does not take itself too seriously. Starring Checco Zalone as the self-titled main character Checco, the harmless, albeit often clueless main character takes us on a James Bond style journey on his way into the Carabinieri – the Italian gendarmerie. While watching Checco try and fail over and over, one almost would not believe it that the man co-wrote the film. So while Checco is offered a less prestigious, but nevertheless desirable job as a security guard at the Cathedral of Milan, he is unknowingly put on the radar of a terrorist sibling couple. Cue Farah, played by Nabiha Akkari, whose job it is to gain Checco’s trust. As it ever so often happens, things do not go according to plan, and while Checco inevitably falls in love with the exotic Farah, the viewer is left to cringe at her evil plan.
When reading the main plot of this film, one might be taken aback of the fact that a comedy would, or rather dares to, portray a topic as serious as terrorism in a light-hearted manner. But this is exactly why this film works so well. By not taking itself too seriously, it turned an otherwise fairly boring rom-com into a comedy with a unique set-up. The fact that the group of terrorist activists is not portrayed in a childishly comical, nor overly serious manner, gives the film a sensible kind of humanity.
At times the film does play on the typical Italian stereotypes of big families and endless eating, and for some this might get a bit too clichéd, but as Checco’s family plays a big part in Farah’s character development it is only necessary to see the two cultures clash.
Sometimes laugh-out funny, sometimes rather sly, the comedy elements in Che Bella Giornata are varied, but simple. Taking elements from slapstick and situation comedy the film’s aim is to keep it light. Checco’s character needs a bit of warming to at first, since his clumsy idiocy does not seem apparent to anyone but the viewer, but unfailingly gets in the way of his dreams. But after the initial frustration one really warms to Checco and his family and in the end there is nothing left but to root for his love to the beautiful Farah. Farah’s character at first appears to be very one-dimensional, but as she gets more and more involved in the family of her target, the viewer finds out about her and her brother’s past and what drove them to those desperate measures.
The film is mainly set in Milan and a nearby village, and so it benefits from beautiful scenery and bags of sunshine. Some scenes might appear to the untrained eye as too packed with clichés to be true, but the truth is that a lot of images of the film reflect the everyday life of small Italian towns. But whether this is just another cliché is up to you to decide. The sense of community is strong throughout the whole film, be it Checco’s family or his work colleagues at the Cathedral – Checco is always surrounded by plenty of friends.
A perfect film for everybody who wants to welcome summer to their screens, Che Bella Giornata is a feel-good flick with plenty of laughter. Indulge in a bit of silliness and ‘Italianità’ with Nunziante’s latest piece while sipping on your espresso or enjoying a gelato and officially declare the arrival of summer. And if this film does not want to make you visit Italy, then nobody can help you.
Antonia Landi for Trisickle.