13 June 2006 | Chip_douglas
Franco does just as well without Ciccio
Silly Army comedy starring Franco Franchi. I for one prefer watching him like this, without straight man Ciccio Ingrassia. Carrying the film on his own, Franco acts more self assured (well, he is playing an army officer), less stupid and, best of all, refrains from hamming it up in every frame. That is not to say he does not pull a lot of faces, but believe you me, it's nothing compared to his usual fare. Still, his name above the title and the 'lets stick it to the army' attitude are the main draw here, not a strong narrative. Unconnected skits and bits dominate the first half of the film, with Sergente Rompiglioni turning the morning march into a dance routine and Francesca Romana Coluzzi playing a thankless part as his girlfriend (twice as tall as him and featuring the longest legs in Italy). Il Sergente get's assigned as the company's music teacher and has his orchestra practicing even before their instruments have arrived. Franchi fans will enjoy the silliness of it all, though many others might soon get annoyed and reach for the remote.
Just before the halfway point we are introduced to a group of hippie musicians, who are forced into service by Col. Guglielmo (Mario Carotenuto) because one of them is dating his daughter Lauretta (Corrine Clery, before 'O' and "Moonraker" and with even less of a part than Francesca). As part of Rompiglioni's orchestra, the group visits his old music teacher (who looks exactly like a Womble), but the wannabe sixties rejects soon escape to their disco gig, performing under the collective name of 'Alisei'. Twenty days of hard training are cut short when those crafty beatniks fool Rompiglioni into thinking he has a bright future as an opera singer (Franchi actually was a recording artist in real life), sending him off to the Festival Di Castrocora. Sadly, this side trip away from the army only leads to a whole lot of people shouting (comedy should be funny, not loud). Eventually Rompiglioni does get his revenge of sorts, but the finale left me more puzzled than amused.
5 out of 10