From Zero To Ten

From Zero To Ten


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Angst doesn't just hit you when you reach 40 - at least not according to From Zero To Ten, where midlife crisis becomes a reality at 36.

Giove (Stefano Pesce) is a (reasonably) happily married man, who believes that from the moment we are born to the second we die, "we exist to give and receive grades".

He categorises his life as a seven minus, but the weekend over which the action of the film takes place promises to be a nine. This is because he and his friends - Libero (Massimo Bellinzoni), gay doctor Biccio (Pierfrancesco Favino) and perpetual adolescent womaniser Baygon (Stefano Venturi) - are heading to the hedonistic mayhem of Rimini to complete a weekend they never finished 20 years ago.

Libero, who is not a well man, has organised the festivities to within an inch of their life, including a rendevous with the same women they met 20 years before.

There is plenty that is right with this film. The script is good, offering an insight into the ageing process - "After you're 30, you're no longer part of a generation" - and the film crackles along with energy and an irrepressible joie de vivre, succeeding best when it is at it's most playful, as Libero organises a "birthday treat" for each of the guys. The opening sequence, with its shades of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is inspired. It is only a pity that other areas of the film don't live up to this promise.

As an increasing sense of foreboding settles over the proceedings, it becomes clear that something more sinister is lurking in the Rimini woodshed. And it is this aspect of the film which doesn't fare so well, as the direction swings disjointedly between the dark and light.

Director Luciano Ligabue is first and foremost a musician, with a considerable amount of fame in his home country. This musical background shows, as, while the scoring is impeccable throughout, parts of the film have an unmistakable pop video feel - particularly a somewhat pointless musical song-and-dance routine part way through.

It's almost as if Ligabue has a surfeit of ideas. He has so much to say that plots tumble over one another in a rush, meaning that the good ideas become jumbled with the less good, leaving the whole feeling the worse for it.

The camp celebration of life for thirtysomethings shines through and bits of it are reminiscent of British film comedy, akin to the likes of The Full Monty, but ultimately you can't help wishing that Ligabue had a little more reserve. This is only his second movie and if he can exercise some restraint on future projects, he could become a force to be reckoned with.

Reviewed on: 09 Apr 2004
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Three men return to Rimini after a 20-year absence.

Director: Luciano Ligabue

Writer: Luciano Ligabue

Starring: Stefano Pesce, Massimo Bellinzoni, Eliabetta Cavallotti, Pierfrancesco Favino, Barbara Lerici, Stefania Rivi, Fabrizia Sacchi, Stefano Venturi

Year: 2002

Runtime: 99 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Italy


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