There’s a lot to like in director Edoardo Leo’s crowd pleasing Out of the Blue; with the clichéd narrative of an irresponsible, womanising father brought to heel leavened with some good jokes and great performances. Audiences will see what’s coming, but not be too bothered, with a steady flow of humour and light-heartedness smoothing the way.
Reviewed by Drew Ninnis.
Director: Edoardo Leo
Screenplay: Massimiliano Bruno, Edoardo Leo, and Herbert Simone Paragnani.
Runtime: 101 minutes.
Cast: Raoul Bova, Antonino Bruschetta, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, and Marco Giallini.
Trailer: “Everything is perfect...”
Plot: Local lothario Andrea is happy in his life of disposable women and frothy PR, asking nothing more out of life than a good income and a different girl in his bed every evening. Imagine his shock when 16-year-old Layla arrives from out of the blue to meet her long lost father, and determine what sort of man he is – with her grandfather, aging rocker Enzo in two. The two are quickly shocked and disappointed in Andrea, who does his best to mend his ways but finds that old habits die hard.
Festival Goers? See it. An easy-going film good for dragging reluctant friends and family to as well.
Viewed as part of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival.
Review: The rehashed Don Giovanni tale of the facetiously retitled Out of the Blue (Buongiorno papà) is an unashamed crowd pleaser at heart; and a few miraculous performances and some well written parts, despite the generally broad tropes of the film, demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with that. With a conceit of accidental fatherhood and late-parenting redemption right out of a 1980s Hollywood blockbuster, the film manages to put just enough original heat of its own onto an otherwise tried and tested formula to remain entertaining. Indeed, the film is singlehandedly saved by the outstanding performance of Marco Giallini as an aging rockstar and grandfather Enzo; on hand often enough to crack wise, wander in naked, and dispense enough good advice to prevent the film from becoming too turgid and predictable. For an enjoyable ride of no consequence, and perhaps an Italian film to get a few reluctant acquaintances interested, Edoardo Leo’s Out of the Blue is not a bad vehicle.
Our Christian Troy of this narrative, Andrea (Raoul Bova) is quickly established as a man with no time for commitment and room only for his high paying job as a marketing executive who persuades directors to place products in their films (a detail that is sure to be a quiet, sweet revenge for Italian director Leo). ‘Find a woman and settle down’ his boss counsels him, with Andrea protesting that ‘At my age? No, [I’m] too young.’ Audiences in these sorts of genre films are no doubt primed to expect just that to happen by the close of the film, and Out of the Blue doesn’t disappoint – with the appearance of good looking, youthful but mature teacher Lorenza (Nicole Grimaudo) slotting nicely into that spot. The usual Beatrice and Benedict courtship is played out over the length of the film; with student of Lorenza and daughter of Andrea, Layla (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) at first complicating their romance and then ensuring its consummation. But Layla, her relationship with her newly father, and quietly dubious grandfather Enzo form the emotional core of this film as they zig and zag towards finding themselves as part of an unconventional family. The expected beats are to be found here, and are hit with a degree of competence and brisk pacing that make the clichés tolerable.
As mentioned, the film becomes comically enlivened as soon as Enzo wanders into shot – generally half naked, and with the insouciance of a veteran taboo-breaker. Commenting on the ostentatious ‘I Am Mine’ neon feature light on Andrea’s wall, he points out what ‘a crock of shit’ Andrea has surrounded himself with, proving inevitably to be right. Softening a little towards the man-child, Enzo advises that ‘if you always do what you do, you’ll always have what you have’ in a moment that Giallini really sells as authentic and thoughtful. There are some surprisingly great bathroom scenes (you’ll know them when you see them) and a running joke made of Enzo’s sleepwalking, in which he makes repeated demands for the immediate answer to questions as varied as wanting to know ‘the capital of the Congo’ and whether the best band is ‘Rolling Stones or New Trolls.’ Apparently, the correct dream-logic answer is first ‘New Trolls’ to everything except the latter question, where the answer is obviously ‘Rolling Stones’ – as veteran and friend Paolo (Edoardo Leo) advises a shocked Andrea. Indeed, the incipient friendship between Paolo and Enzo blossoms into the most interesting and redeeming sub-plot of the film, with Paolo still yearning for his cheating ex-girlfriend and Enzo sagely noting ‘ever heard of the word catharsis? Find your enemy and scream the truth into his face! Afterwards you’ll breathe freely.’ It’s surprisingly great advice, from the legend himself. Just because I can’t help relating some of the best bits, Enzo also advises in passing ‘remember what Bukowski said: Don’t be sad because your girlfriend hast left you, find another one – who will leave you too.’ Giallini’s delivery and style truly makes the film, complete with a trip to a children’s party in a Kiss costume.
Sure, there’s the usual drama and the usual resolution, the heart-warming but manufactured moments, and a fair bit of product placement within a movie that mocks product placement, but overall Out of the Blue is enjoyable without overstaying its welcome too much. The thin age difference between the father and daughter are a little awkward – with eighteen-year-old Sellers at points seeming more like a dressed-up romantic lead for Bova than a daughter – but the film generally rights any missteps and sorts itself out amusingly enough.
Sadly there’s not a cameo from Italian progressive rock band New Trolls. But then again, those guys could never agree on anything.
Rating: Three stars.