Made In Italy stars Liam Neeson as ‘bohemian artist’ Robert Foster, who opens with, “I have a particular set of skills… I decorate houses.”
Okay, he doesn’t say that at all, but his son, Jack (Micheál Richardson) is about to get divorced from Ruth (Yolanda Kettle), who’s selling her gallery as a result. Meanwhile, as Robert is going to sell a house in Tuscany, left to him by late wife Raffaella (Helena Antonio), Jack’s plan is to use his share of that cash to… you’re ahead of me.
So, Robert and Jack drive over to Italy, even though anyone normal would just take a plane, and find the domicile is a run down piece of crap that even Homes Under The Hammer‘s Martin Roberts would turn his nose up at. Cue lots of predictable scenes such as when Jack tries try to get water out of the shower head, but it first spits out brown water, then is too hot/cold/etc. And then he finds a raccoon in the kitchen cupboard, and so on. Plus, there’s a large hole in the roof, and a monstrosity of a painting on one wall, but it’s one that – for reasons you probably won’t care about – has special signficance for Robert.
What’s really weird is that Jack has a strong Irish accent in his opening scene with Ruth, so you expect him to continue this as he goes to meet Dad Robert, but no, they’re both attempting cut-glass English accents, which is beyond ridiculous.
Plus, as son arrives, Dad’s been found to be cavorting with his latest conquest overnight, who storms out because he can’t remember her name. However, Dad’s not bothered because, clearly, he has a fresh piece of tail lining up at the door every night which will keep his John Thomas going strong long into old age… okay, so Liam Neeson is already there (he’s 68), but his character is clearly late 40s. Meanwhile, Jack is played by a 25-year-old.
While there, Robert looks like he’s falling for estate agent Kate (Lindsay Duncan), while Jack chances upon restaurant owner Natalia (Valeria Bilello), but meanwhile, the former gets all teary after looking at old photo albums of when his wife was alive, and the house was in a decent shape. Similarly, Jack laments the fact that he never knew his mother beyond one or two old memories. Yes, there’s far too much time spent naval-gazing.
The main problem with Made In Italy – other than its leaden acting, writing and directing – is that it’s not in the slightest bit original nor entertaining. It’s predictable from start to finish, and whenever anyone Italian comes into the frame and starts talking, they put on-a that-a over-acting-a accent-a, which sounds-a like they’re in a DolmEEEEo advert-a!
Oh, and we’re expected to believe, at one point, Natalia eats a full plate of spaghetti bolognese whilst wearing a white blouse, wearing no bib of any sort, and she doesn’t get any of it on her!
As a final thought, IMDB lists this as a ’15’, although originally I saw them show it as a 12-cert. Normally, a 12-certificate is allowed up to four f-words. This has seven. Yes, I counted. None are said in deliberate anger, though and, quite frankly, if you removed three of them, you could easily get away with a 12-cert as a result, as there’s nothing else that’ll upset anyone (other than the tedium).
Overall, Made In Italy is only worth 1/10 for the visuals, alone.
And a bit behind a spoiler header:(spoiler)
Made In Italy is on Amazon Prime Video from Friday March 26th, but the film isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Running time: 94 minutes
Release date: March 26th 2021
Studio: Amazon Prime Video
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Director: James D’Arcy
Producer: Pippa Cross, Sam Tipper-Hale
Screenplay: James D’Arcy
Music: Alex Belcher
Robert: Liam Neeson
Jack: Micheál Richardson
Natalia: Valeria Bilello
Ruth: Yolanda Kettle
Kate: Lindsay Duncan
Ree: Souad Faress
Jennifer: Claire Dyson
Raffaella: Helena Antonio
Clara: Lavinia Biagi
Giovanni: Gabriele Tozzi
Luigi: Marco Quaglia
Marzio: Gian Marco Tavani
Anna: Costanza Amati
Astrid: Eileen Walsh
Deli Owner: Flaminia Cinque
Gordon: Julian Ovenden
Amy: Chelsea Fitzgerald
Susan: Deborah Vale
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.