Title: Qualcosa di nuovo (Something new)

Director: Cristina Comencini

Starring: Paola Cortellesi, Micaela Ramazzotti, Eduardo Valdarnini.

Filmmaker and playwright Cristina Comencini explores the cougar phenomenon adapting her play ‘La scena’ (The Scene) for the big screen, with ‘Qualcosa di nuovo’ (Something new).

This is a story about female friendship. The cinematic tale accounts sisterly complicity ? that alternates with competition ? when two women in their forties find themselves sharing a teenage lover. The story is extremely predictable and drenched with cliches, which are enhanced by the female characters who embody two opposing stereotypes.

Lucia (Paola Cortellesi) is stiff with men, she mistrusts them, interrogates them and has a rather prudish behaviour. Maria (Micaela Ramazzotti), naturally, is the opposite: sexual, bubbly, a loose woman. The encounter with nineteen year old Luca (Eduardo Valdarnini) will turn these women’s world upside down.

Lucia will become the voluptuous female, whereas Maria will transform into the pondered and cerebral woman. The comedy of errors builds up through lies and characters switching roles, to reveal the ever exhausted confrontation between Mars and Venus. This time there is an addition: the age difference between the two genders. In this fashion, ‘Qualcosa di nuovo’ portrays female empowerment through a Milfy “Odd Couple” who tries to objectify a young man (as older men would do with younger women).

‘Harold and Maude’ had said it all about the quirkiness of a liaison between an elderly lady and a high school kid. In that film there was true existentialism, contoured by dark humour. Cristina Comencini’s script is a squalid two-dimensional portrait of contemporary middle-aged women dating boys who could be their sons, with an irritating misuse of slapstick comedy.

The talented actresses  Paola Cortellesi and Micaela Ramazzotti entertain and ameliorate the stale commonplace characters they are forced to interpret. But not even their exceptional skills manage to brush off the hackneyed mise-en-scène.

Technical: B-

Acting: A-

Story: D

Overall: C+

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Qualcosa di nuovo (Something new) Movie Review

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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