University: More than Friends is an unredeemingly terrible film. It can’t even manage to be terrible enough to incite a perverse curiosity in viewers. It is just solidly, unoriginally terrible. So much so that it has a bright future in being used by the CIA to interrogate detainees at illegal black spots.
Reviewed by Drew Ninnis.
Director: Federico Moccia
Screenplay: Federico Moccia, Ilaria Carlino.
Runtime: 90 minutes
Cast: Primo Reggiani, Nadir Caselli, Simone Riccioni, Brice Martinet.
Trailer: “We weren't the only ones who felt like fish out of water.” (warning: sadly they don't asphyxiate and die.)
Plot: Carlo is an aspiring director in a film studies program; living among undergraduate housemates and friends, while trying to navigate the complexities of university life. Out of ideas for his next project, he instead documents his fellow students and the multitude of issues they face in studying, working, finding love, and surviving. What emerges is a portrait of good friends, casual sex, and an accidental community.
Festival Goers? Miss it. Volunteer for a one-way manned trip to Mars rather than see it.
Viewed as part of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival.
Review: Federico Moccia’s latest alleged comedy University: More Than Friends (Universitari: molto più che amici) is an undergraduate film in every sense of the word, producing very little evidence to substantiate the genre description attached to it. Poorly written, unfunny, and filmed with little thought, the quicker we forget this terrible effort exists the better. At this point, my aim within this review is to dissuade you from seeing this film as efficiently as possible, without unnecessarily boring you with the details of its stupidities. So here goes.
Containing casually offensive lines such as ‘a woman over forty years is like Albania or Iran, everyone knows were they are but no one wants to go there’ and ‘the only real punishment for a man is to be with a woman,’ the film’s casually sexist attitude is only matched by its complete disregard for coherency and maintaining the interest of the viewer. Everyone is called a stronzo/a/i, as this is a romantic comedy without either elements making an appearance; no one is in love, and the events portrayed or lines delivered are as funny as a cancer diagnosis. There are the usual break-ups and easy reconciliations to pad out the running length; quite a lot of amateurish filming; and vox-pop interviews with undergrads, under the pretence of the protagonist’s ‘film’ that are reminiscent of those misguided attempts in the first season of Sex and the City. There’s the ubiquitous and annoying narration that parliament must have mandated by law for every film made in Italy now, and the plot rockets frenetically from one narrative to another because it is overstuffed with characters and events but strangely light on incidence or meaning. This film doesn’t even make it into so-bad-its-good territory. It runs out of gas between the terrible and the soul-crushingly awful.
Skip it. Miss it. Do not see it. Don’t stop to glance at it airing on a display of T.V.s through a retailer’s window. Take the sole parachute out of that air-plane showing it as in flight entertainment and jump. Run across the no-mans-land of the labour camp that screening it for the inmates, and risk getting shot by a guard, hunted down by German Shepherds, or suffocated by that white blob from The Prisoner. If you are in Guantanamo Bay and the film is used as an enhanced interrogation technique, then confess, confess to everything, even to stuff you haven’t done; to the Kennedy assassination, abducting the Lindbergh Baby, to hijacking a plane as D.B. Cooper. In short, avoid seeing this film at all costs.
Rating: Half a star.
Addendum: I found this Italian clip which expresses my feelings about this film, and presumably those of quite a few others.