Rent a Husband Italian Style
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/12/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"'Mariti in affitto' ('Our Italian Husband') is sort of a mess of a movie. Ilaria Borrelli wrote and directed this bilingual film and apparently lost track of her story during the making of it. The Italian language portions are supplemented by English subtitles, but the English, when spoken, is so distorted by the actors and by the musical sound track that the words are nearly incomprehensible. What results is a slapstick comedy acted way over the top to the point of frustration on the part of the audience.
The action opens somewhere in Italy where Maria Scocozza (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) is eking out a living making sandals to support her two children from her marriage to artist Vincenzo Scocozza (Pierfrancesco Favino) who left for America some years ago to make it big in New York. Maria is courted by older gentlemen who threaten her to the point that she leaves with her two children to fly to New York to re-join her husband. Upon arrival she finds an unfriendly country but no husband and is befriended by Raul (Diego Serrano) who eventually finds her work passing out flyers for an agency called 'Rent a Husband'. She eventually discovers her husband has remarried to TV model Charlene (Brooke Shields) who is extremely pregnant. Outraged but with no place to go, Maria and her two children move in with Charlene and Vincenzo, and as predicted the two women eventually join to plot against the two-timing Vincenzo...etc etc etc.
The acting is raw - Chevy Chase even has a role as a TV writer - and the performances all border on overacting. There is a hint that somewhere in this mélange of ideas there are some solid humanistic points to be made, but everything gets lost in the mess of a production. Not a very good way to spend an evening. Grady Harp, August 06