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  • Some of the funniest stars of Italian comedies of the seventies team up with their favorite leading lady, but most of them don't share any scenes together. You see, `Zucchero, miele e peperoncino' does not bother to weave it's sub-plots together, but simply presents three separate stories. A framework sequence in a courthouse keeps the whole thing together. Three crimes of passion are unveiled in a series of colorful flashbacks;

    First up is Valerio Milanese (Lino Banfi), who somehow gets mistaken for a notorious criminal. An eager journalist (Edwige Fenech) lures him to her house for an exclusive interview. This being Fenech, she takes off her top to induce him to tell her about his crimes. Lino Banfi was born to play this kind of lustful character, and Edwige Fenech always deserves an extra point.

    7 out of 10

    The next defendant is Guiseppe Mazzarella (Pippo Franco), a man so down on his luck he can't even successfully commit suicide. Through various mishaps, he finally gets a job as a maid. After all, every Italian comedy has to feature at least one man in drag. Nobody suffers better than Pippo Franco, but unfortunately this segment does drag on a bit to long.

    5 out of 10

    In the third and final case, Plinio Carlozzi (Renato Pozzetto) starts a one-man taxi company and loves his cab as if it were a woman. Even when he gets involved with the kidnapping of a young woman and a big chase, his only concern is for his one true love. This segment focuses on another very important theme in Italian culture: the car. Renato Pozzetto loves to play quirky idiots and it shows.

    6 out of 10

    Usually in these kind of sex farces, the protagonists start of as losers and remain so to the end. This time however, all three end up with the girl, but they have to suffer a lot of pain none the less. If you are a fan of the `Carry on' movies, or sex comedies from the seventies in particular, you'll love `Zucchero, miele e peperoncino'. In 1982 followed a sequel of sorts, `Ricchi, Ricchissimi, praticament in mutande', featuring three new capers with the same actors in the same courthouse.

    Average: 6 out of 10
  • You get a mix of three different flavors, and that's pretty much what happens with this 3-part Italian comedy which tries three different comedic approaches, one for each story: the first (about a hapless man who gets mistaken for a serial killer) is the "sex comedy", largely due to the presence of Edwige Fenech as a kung-fu newspaper reporter (!). Not great, but funnier (and tamer) than her usual similar fare. The second (about a poor unemployed man who is forced by circumstances to dress up as a woman and work as a housemaid) is the "socially conscious comedy". Taken literally this story is of course stupid, but its absurdity has an underlying sadness to it, and the subject is still topical. The third (about a taxi driver who works by his own rules and gets involved in the kidnapping of a young girl) is the "slapstick comedy". It has some funny parts, but it gets overextended. Overall, if this mix of different styles sounds interesting to you, the film is probably worth a look. (**)