Do you know those days that are just a bit ‘meh’? Nothing really happens but you’re still not bored enough to do something about it. Uneventful, I guess, is the right word to describe it. Well, that’s what ‘Gianni e le donne’ is like. Armed with a potentially entertaining story to tell, this film is a bit of a let down. The cast is good, the setting is pleasant, the soundtrack is very good – so what is the problem?
Gianni Di Gregorio, director, writer and main character of the film, sets the viewer up for an interesting story. We meet Gianni, a fifty-something stay at home husband who is less than happy with the way things are going. He lives in a virtually love-less marriage, prepares breakfast for everyone while his wife and daughter are too busy to spend any time with him, and all he is left with is a long list of errands to run. Any favour a woman asks him to do he will do, and it is soon clear that Gianni, as lovely as he is, is sick of it. Cue the main theme of the film: Gianni decides to get back into the game. But what does that actually mean? Clearly, he does not get what he wants from his marriage, but are we really watching a movie about an oldish man desperately trying to have an affair with younger women? It is needless to say that the film does not lack cringeworthy moments.
For a comedy ‘Gianni e le donne’ is almost tragic at times. The humour is scarce, and very rarely laugh out loud funny. But it is so well done that you can almost forget about the lack of character development. Instead of obvious puns and bad jokes, this film relies entirely on situation comedy. Sometimes it’s cringy, sometimes it’s just unfortunate, but it is entirely funny and always works.
The biggest surprise is in the soundtrack. It is very well written and has the potential to lead a whole scene. Ratchev & Carratello have truly hit the nail on the head here – the music is entertaining, well written, and just leaves you wanting more.
It is a shame that a film that has the potential to be very good ended up to be, well, not so good. The main problem with ‘Gianni e le donne’ is that character development is unheard of. All the characters – whether it is Gianni’s mum that relies on her son whenever her housemaid is not around, or his daughter, who gets back together with her old boyfriend just to realise that she isn’t happy – stay absolutely the same throughout the entire film. Not even Gianni, who is clearly like a block of clay just begging to be shaped and moulded, shows the slightest sign of change or realisation. This is absolutely fine for the first half hour, as the viewer eagerly awaits the main plot point where everything will change, and things will go wrong but they will also be funny and eventually lead to a happy end, but as the film goes on it dawns on you that this film simply does not go anywhere. The ending is simply baffling and feels a bit like a cop-out. And so we leave Gianni as desperate as he was before and neither he, nor the viewer, is any wiser.
All in all this film has all the right ingredients to make things work, but the storyline is bland and gets repetitive after a while. Fifty-something stay at home dad, looking for action.
Antonia Landi for Trisickle.