Bil’s rating (out of 5): B
Original title: Il Compleanno
Italy, 2009. Zen Zero, Marche Film Commission, Regione Marche, Ateliers d’Ecriture EVIAN EQUINOXE 2007, Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini, Ministero per I Beni e le Attivita Culturali. Story by Marco Filiberti, Screenplay by Davide de Bona, Deborah De Furia, Marco Filiberti. Cinematography by Roberta Allegrini. Produced by Caroline Locardi, Agnes Trincal. Music by Andrea Chenna. Production Design by Livia Borgognoni. Costume Design by Isabelle Caillaud, Eva Coen. Film Editing by Valentina Girodo.
Two couples who have been friends for years get together to vacation on the Italian Riviera for a summer. The one couple has a son who, now in college, has blossomed into a handsome young man who models for swimsuit ads to pay for college (and is played by a real-life Armani model, Thyago Alves). His presence causes a disturbance in this little group when the husband of the other couple finds himself irresistibly attracted to him. Although the strong performances by the adult leads give the impression that this will be an absorbing and thoughtful drama, bad acting by the younger performers, especially a thoroughly wooden Alves (who can never talk without smiling no matter what the situation), soon reveal the core of the experience to be that of soap-operatic hysterics. The overall impenetrability of the story is helped neither by cardboard characters who fail to resonate, or the hokey plot which foreshadows its conclusion with a deadly obvious opening at a performance of Tristan And Isolde. A sexy, climactic love scene tries to redeem things, but does not succeed.