Troppo napoletano (2016) [San Diego Italian Film Festival 2017]

A coming of age story about a kid falling in love while trying to help his mother find love again after his distant father passes away.

From the mind of writer/director Gianluca Ansanelli, Troppo napoletano is a romantic comedy that isn’t run of the mill. Here the usual tropes are mostly put aside and the character the mother would have been made to fall for in a less intelligent film is considered for what he is, an asshole, and she gets to go for a choice that makes more sense and doesn’t insult the intelligence of women everywhere. Of course there are some dumb moments and a few issues here and there, but Troppo napoletano is a romantic comedy with brains and heart, something romantic comedy fans get far too little of lately. The film also has a good family drama at the heart of it with a mother and son trying to make their way through life with very little help from the father on an emotional level and in terms of presence. They do however have each other and a crazy extended family. This is something the film makes sure to show as both an annoyance and a blessing, showing that family is what you make it, something that is part of the film’s heart and soul. The young lead, the boy at the center of it all, is adorable and adorably annoying at times. He is one of those characters that make sense in all the nonsense.

Playing this boy, Ciro, is young actor Gennaro Guazzo who has a great sense of timing and shows talent beyond his age. His performance is the anchor of the film and he shows himself to be quite the leading man. His mama is played with charm and wit by Serena Rossi who is spunky, loving, and takes no shit from anyone in this part. Her presence attracts the attention and keeps it whenever she is on the screen. Luigi Esposito is the doctor that helps the star figure himself out and he does show showing care and vulnerability. His screen presence is interesting and fascinating here. The entire cast here is lovely in their own way, even those playing jerks and assholes; they have a charm about it that gives the film a feeling of unity and collaboration. The acting is talented across the board and this helps elevate the film from simple coming of age love story to a film that feels like much more than that and has a message of love and acceptance.

The film makes use of Napoli as its location in a great way, showing many parts of it and even taking the time to explain the separations of each areas and why they are so in the eyes of the young lead. The cinematography by Francesco Di Giacomo shows the locations beautifully, giving Napoli a chance to shine and be a star amongst the cast and story.

Troppo napoletano is a sweet, funny romantic comedy/coming of age film where the lead is adorable and has great comedic timing. The presence of kids in the story is not annoying and adds a charm to the proceeding that would not be there otherwise. The romance part of the film does not take the women for idiots and lets them make choices for themselves that will help them have better lives in the long run, something a lot of romantic comedy does not have as they make women accept behaviors that are wrong and get into toxic relationships for the sake of romance. Here the toxic potential suitors are shown as such and the film and its kid lead push the mom in the right direction while also finding his own right direction. It’s a sweet film with funny and touching moments, it has great acting with good comedic timing and a story that can touch just about anyone.