I Can Quit Whenever I Want


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

I Can Quit Whenever I Want
"A fast paced, witty comedy that sweetens its bitter social comment with an optimistic outlook."

If one were feeling generous, one might call this film an homage to Breaking Bad. It stays just on the right side of theft, given that it spins its central premise in a way that is particular to Italian culture, and tonally it's much more over the top than its US counterpart. It follows Pietro (Edoardo Leo), a university professor and researcher who specialises in molecular chemistry. With funding tight and ageing investors only interested in financing what they can easily understand, he finds himself squeezed out of his profession, and in his desperation not to lose his home and his girlfriend (Valeria Solarino), he finds a new one.

Like Breaking Bad, I Can Quit Whenever I Want is born out of the recession, a sharp comment on the demise of high skill economies (with something to say about the way intellectual endeavour is perceived more generally). Like most people looking to start up in business, Pietro turns first to his friends, all of whom have PhDs. One is washing dishes; two are working in a petrol station; one has tried pretending that he dropped out high school but still comes across as too educated to get a job; one is trying to make a living by counting cards at poker, with predictable consequences. With their skills, it's easy for them to produce a drug far cleaner and more effective than most highs on the market, and just on the right side of the law. What they're selling isn't actually a controlled substance - but because it's being exchanged for cash in nightclub toilets, they do risk being done for tax evasion. And there's one other thing they haven't thought of - the response of the people who dominated the business before them. After all, they insist, this isn't an American movie.

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A fast paced, witty comedy that sweetens its bitter social comment with an optimistic outlook - this is the story of a man who, as Norman Tebbit advised, gets on his bike. Pietro's determination to take control of his own destiny makes him a sympathetic character even when his girlfriend is ranting about how a new drug on the market has made her work as a recovery counsellor harder. The film does its best to bypass ethical discussion - we've all heard it before - but makes plain that, for many people, recreational drugs are simply a fact of life. Short cuts through other familiar aspects of this narrative leave it with a slender storyline. Around this, however, an old fashioned caper comedy is constructed, and the capable cast deliver it with aplomb.

I Can Quit Whenever I Want is a lighthearted look at some potentially very dark subjects. It's attractively shot and stubbornly upbeat, sure to have you leaving the cinema on a high.

Reviewed on: 10 Feb 2015
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I Can Quit Whenever I Want packshot
A bunch of broke academics decide to enter the drug manufacture and dealing business.

Director: Sydney Sibilia

Writer: Valerio Attanasio, Andrea Garello, Sydney Sibilia

Starring: Edoardo Leo, Valeria Solarino, Valerio Aprea, Paolo Calabresi, Libero De Rienzo, Stefano Fresi, Lorenzo Lavia, Pietro Sermonti, Sergio Solli, Majlinda Agaj, Neri Marcorè, Guglielmo Poggi, Katsiaryna Shulha, Nadir Caselli, Luca Vecchi

Year: 2014

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: Italy

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