Tuesday 19 September 2017

Italian Film Festival (3) - Barrie Pattison reviews LET YOURSELF GO (Francesco Amato)

Opening night at the Italian Film Festival you scored Francesco Amato's Lasciati andare/Let Yourself Go which, like too many film festival selections, must have been chosen because it wouldn't scare away paying customers.

This one is a conventional comedy where it’s a surprise to find current face of the Italian serious film Tony Servillo repeating Woody Allen. He plays a Jewish psychoanalyst who is too mean to pay for a divorce from the appealing wife still doing his laundry and living in the next flat in the ghetto block where Tony is infuriated by the Observant neighbour who leaves the top floor lift door open on Sundays to avoid breaking shabbat.

The patients from Tony's practice keep on turning up in the film’s plot developments. They include Giacomo, of the great Aldo, Giacomo and Giovanni team, who dates the wife and is more in his element.

Tony’s told by his doctor to get into shape or he’ll get diabetes, listing the consequences, and that bringing his mum’s exercise bike up from the cellar won’t help because he won’t stick with that the way he would with a gym membership.That's using psychology on the shrink.

Toni Servillo, VerĂ³nica Echegui, Let Yourself Go
In the gym, Tony collides with sex pot VerĂ³nica Echegui running her jazzacise class and when she hides from the owner’s jealous wife in the steam room with Tony, she convinces him he needs her as a personal trainer - predictable jokes about him running and working out with her as he gradually gets into shape.

Her whacked out sex life intrudes, with her black son setting fires, including one on Tony’s jacket. She is working Tony as part of the scheme where her psycho prisoner boyfriend Luca Marinelli wants to be hypnotized into remembering where he placed the jewel store robbery loot we've forgotten about him pacing out and burying at the start of the film. When Tony finally gets him on the couch the piece moves deeper into knockabout. The session puts pistol waving side kick Vincenzo Nemolato to sleep and recovering the loot involves dropping an owl cage on the hapless Slav's head.

The handling is brisk and the bright color scheme attractive. Mixing Jewish jokes, shrink jokes and slapstick crook comedy is occasionally amusing but we’ve been there before and might have hoped they’d come up with a more substantial vehicle for Servillo.

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