Pane e Tulipani

[Screenshot]What is it with the Italians? Italian romantic comedies are light, delectable handcrafted pastries with individual charm and a gentle situational humor. American romantic comedies are like those dense chocolate mousses you get for desert at large Marriott-catered banquets: they’ve got a lot of what you think should make a comedy good, but they never live up to the promise of their descriptions and they’re all kind of the same anyways.

So, what makes up this particular delectable pastry? Gentle quirkiness, mostly. The character of Fernando has the right blend of modest drollery and ineffable sadness to be sympathetic, enigmatic, and not dominate the scene too much. There’s a fairly generous sharing of the strands of the story among Fernando and Rosalba (Grazia feels a bit of a third wheel at times in the story, making her emergence as a major character a bit jarring). The onscreen chemistry arises effectively, although I couldn’t begin to say why: the characters are just drawn in such a complementary way that their communion seems natural and poignant. There’s some pratfallesque comedy, mostly surrounding Constantino, but for the most part this film interveaves situational humor with pleasant and graceful character development.

There’s no reason America can’t produce moving and lightly amusing romantic comedies. Are you listening, Hollywood? We don’t need another retread of Garden State or Better Off Dead!

See also: IMDB.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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