23 April 2004 | ItalianGerry
The title of this film translates as "Dad Becomes Mom." The movie is a continuation of the comedy series about the "Famiglia Passaguai" or "Always in Trouble Family" that began with LA FAMIGLIA PASSAGUAI (1951) and was followed by LA FAMIGLIA PASSAGUAI FA FORTUNA (1952). The family is actually the Valenzi family, Peppe and his wife Margherita. He runs a fabrics shop, she is the nagging wife, and nag she does, nonstop. So much so that when she phones him at work, the phone dances when deposited on a counter. One evening the Valenzis go out to a local theatre, the Odeon, to see a hypnotist. Through the power of suggestion, il signor Valenzi becomes the mother of the family. Because he has an accident that knocks him out, the hypnotist cannot reverse the process. Dad subsequently behaves and talks like a woman, wears his wife's nightgown, gossips with the neighboring woman across the way, and becomes the nag his wife always was...much to the consternation of the wife and the entire family. Daddy is brought to a psychiatrist, and all the therapy and tests in the world cannot change him back to what he was. But then the hypnotist recovers, meets his former stage volunteers, and all becomes well again.
This very broadly written and acted family comedy plays like Roman dialect theatre, perhaps even as a modern version of "commedia dell'arte" but could never travel well outside its land of origin.
The father is played (or hammed up) by the great Roman actor Aldo Fabrizi, who was in and directed the other Passaguai films as well.
The stupendous character actress Ave Ninchi repeats the role of his wife and is a maddening but thoroughly effective screen presence.