Mini-Review: Buongiorno Papà (2013) is a Predictable, Yet Charming and Endearing Italian Melodrama

Andrea (Raoul Bova) is a young bachelor, he works for a company that is responsible for product placement in movies. Aside from his job he loves young girls, clubbing and his best friend Paolo (Edoardo Leo) who lives with him. Andrea doesn’t seem to really care about anyone else except himself. One day, out of the blue, his careless lifestyle of casual sex and easy money is shaken when Layla (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) a rebellious 17-year-old teenager shows up at his front door. She claims to be his daughter. Her mother is dead and Andrea is the only relative she has left, aside from her grumpy grandfather Enzo (Marco Giallini). Since their trailer broke down, they plan to crash at Andrea’s, where there’s going to be a lot of melodrama, but we all know it’s going to end well, right? 

(Co-)written and directed by Edoardo Leo, Buongiorno papà (terribly translated into: Out of the Blue) is a step up from his cinematic debut Diciotto anni dopo (correctly translated: 18 Years Later), which already showed some promise for the Roman actor/writer/director. As much as Buongiorno papà is filled with every existing dramedy cliché, it’s still quite enjoyable and a cut above contemporary average Italian genre fare. Most of it has to do with Raoul Bova‘s charm and a saccharine script, that however totally works in its own way. One of my favorite things about the film, being a marketing student, was how they worked in the product placement, both as a theme and a means to finance the actual film. Other than that I thought the film managed to balance funny and sweet.

The character of Layla, the moody teenager, was a bit bothersome at first, but that’s always one of the most difficult tropes to pull off. It gets kind of annoying after you see a couple scenes of her doing the long face, even though her father is trying hard to make up for never being there for her. There’s also a bit of romance thrown into the film, and while it’s handled decently, it could have been left out. Not every scene works and not every plot point pays off or comes around by the end, but overall the story is pretty coherent. Visually there’s not a lot going on, although some scenes were lit almost exclusively by neon lights. Another great thing about the film is how it comments on film (both as a medium and a storytelling device). All in all, I think Buongiorno papà deserves a thumbs up and is definitely recommended as a fun flick about family.

Rating on First Viewing: 7 out of 10


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