Don't Think About It / Non pensarci (2007)

5.0 out of 5

Valerio Mastandrea is a charming, bitterly non-conformist, 36 year old punk musician who returns to his family's household and failing business. A dreadful gig and an unhappy life in the big city find him in a tight spot, with his surrounding siblings suffering their own failures, though of a different kind than Mastandrea's rock star delusions.

Everybody's onscreen misery and disillusionment give way to plenty of behavioral comedy and scenes unravel much like did in the better social comedy films of the American 70s by Robert Altman and John Cassavetes. There are no simple answers to conflicts, no resolutions that make characters turn unrealistic and no dream girls rescuing the hero from his own existential dread.

The fantastic, metaphorical image that bookends the movie is as potent a visual as a sunset crossed with a rainbow stuck behind Jenifer Aniston beckoning Ashton Kutchner while a Rembrandts song plays over the crawl. That is, this flick is better than any comparable American romance, complete with the obligatory sprinkling of indie rock songs on the soundtrack to keep things alternative.

No disguised rebellion here, and Mastandrea's change at the end is never implied as anything but temporary. Plus, there's no scenes of people taking X and bubbling with snarky pop culture references.

On par with the funniest work of Woody Allen. Seriously.

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