White Collar Blues / Fantozzi (1975)

3.5 out of 5

Luciano Salce's broad, slapstick comedy is, beneath the surface, a Chapliesque indictment of capitalism. Writer and star Paolo Villaggio plays a hapless office worker who we find at the beginning trapped in a company bathroom. The comedy doesn't rise much from this level, but the sheer effrontery makes the low subject matter amusing.

The story is split into six chapters, including a corpse-ridden football match and an ill-advised boating trip. All in all, there is not much here that one wouldn't see on an old episode of The Benny Hill Show, minus the smut. The film's saving grace is, however, the anti-capitalist undercurrent, especially in the first chapter. This portrays a Reggie Perrin-style journey to work, which results in the hero being deposited in his office by an ambulance.

A huge hit in Italy at the time, Fantozzi is a modest, low-budget affair, but the execution is fun, and who can resist a film in which a car is destroyed by an oven?

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics