25 December 2006 | Chip_douglas
Dawn of the Chick Flick
At first it seemed to me a mystery why 'Vacanze di Natale', a rather tame comedy by Italian standards became such a hit, gathering a cult following and numerous sequels, until I realized that this was probably the first true chick flick in Italian cinema. For the first time, we see women manipulating men and chasing after them in equal doses to their male counterparts (where as previously this was strictly a one way street). Here, the attractive people clearly outnumber the usual ugly caricatures (even the least attractive of them, Jerry Càla, practices his playboy charm as a night club pianist). The father and son producing team of Luigi and Aurelio De Laurentiis clearly had a young, teenage audience in mind here, using wall to wall pop tunes on the soundtrack (no need for an original score) and festive pictures of holiday fun.
At the start we are introduced to a great deal of characters gathered together for a skying holiday at Hotel/Ristorante Fanes at Cortina D'Ampezzo. But luckily there are just two mayor plot lines to keep track off. The funnier part revolves around piano playing playboy Billo (Càla) who is trying to rekindle a love affair with Ivana (Stefania Sandrelli) while juggling several other female flings in the air at the same time. The more romantic part sees young Mario (Cladio Amendola) falling for Samantha from Pittsburgh (Katarina Huff), who is already engaged to the easily excitable Roberto (Christian De Sica).
Billo distracts Ivana's rich husband (Guido Nichelli) by pointing him in the direction of busty Licinia Lentini, but soon finds himself in the proverbial log cabin looking to hide several scantily clad women (don't get too excited however, this comedy is for all ages). Even Samantha ends up in that closet, tying the two separate plots together. All the other characters all have their funny quirks and amusing routines without getting in the way of the main stories. There is the usual clowning around on skis and sleds, but most of the film is played indoors, where the men play cards while the women read magazines. 'Vacanze di Natale' was the start of a franchise for director/writer Carlo Vanzina and star Christian De Sica and ushered in the era of date movies as opposed to the 'naughty boy' comedies of the previous decade.
7 out of 10