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Saturday, September 11, 2010

PANE E TULIPANI / BREAD AND TULIPS (2000)

Crowd-pleasing pablum about an Italian wife & mother who finds that . . . Life Begins at 40. Licia Maglietta is addled & underappreciated as the wife & mother who’s left at a rest stop when the tour bus takes off with her family. And it’s HOME ALONE meets A DOLL’S HOUSE after that. Nora, that is, Licia makes a snap decision to give herself a ‘time out,’ hitchhiking to Venice where she gently falls for a lonely waiter (Bruno Ganz); lands a job with an eccentric florist; finds a BFF with the kooky holistic masseuse down the hall; and discovers that personal bliss can trump hearth & home if the kids are almost grown & hubby’s got his business & a mistress to keep him warm. Didn’t Jill Clayburgh go thru all this in the ‘70s? There’s nothing inherently dated or condescending in the basic idea, but Silvio Soldini megs & co-scripts with a cloyingly saccharine touch with dumbed-down characters acting too stupid for words or straining to be lovable. A shame since Maglietta already is lovable, with a lovely touch of Ingrid Bergman about her, and it’s fun to see the back streets & working-class areas of Venice for a change.

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