The Night Before The Exams

The Night Before The Exams


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Set in an Eighties Italian high school, this delightful teen comedy, thankfully, owes much to the directors of that decade - most notably John Hughes and Bill Forsyth - rather than the brasher, trouser-driven antics of later films like American Pie.

It is the summer of 1989 and Luca (Nicolas Vaporidis) and his gaggle of pals are soon to graduate from high school - providing they pass their exams. About to be let off the leash on study leave, and presuming never again to have to deal with his literature teacher Professor Antonio Martinelli (nicknamed "The Prick"), he decides to tell him exactly what he thinks of him. In the first of many delicious twists of fate, Martinelli soaks it all up, before informing Luca that, due to another member of staff being ill, he will now be in charge of the exams. The look on Luca's face - which the audience will soon come to be familiar with - is utterly priceless.

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If school sucks, his social life isn't much better, although, as with all good teen movies, friends are the thing. There's The Girl Who Is Treated Like A Guy, Alice (Sarah Maestri), Luca's best buddy who, of course, dreams of the day he will ask her out; The Wide Boy Riccardo (Eros Galbiati), a pot smoker with access to his dad's Porsche; The Stupid One Massi (Andrea De Rosa); and his long-suffering squeeze Simona (Chiara Mastalli).

One night, at a party, Luca meets The Girl Of His Dreams, Claudia (Cristiana Capotondi), but before he can take down her details, she is whisked away by her thug of a boyfriend Cesare (Marco Aceti). They are, of course, destined to meet again - and how it happens is wonderfully unpredictable. Unpredictability is, in fact, this film's greatest strength. Despite featuring the sort of characters familiar to anyone who has ever watched Gregory's Girl or Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the script by Fausto Brizzi et al is anything but by the numbers. The dialogue crackles with humour, while Brizzi - making an excellent directorial debut - handles several joyously unexpected sight gags with verve and style.

The kids feel genuine and there is a lot more to this than gloss. Messages about the nature of friendship and family abound, but they aren't thrust in your face like Californian candy floss. Those who were teenagers in the Eighties will also love the trip down memory lane courtesy of the soundtrack - though whether the world is ready to be told that Black Lace (or, possibly worse still, a cover band) sang an Italian version of Superman is debatable. If there was an test for high school comedies, The Night Before The Exams would pass with flying colours.

Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2007
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Sparky high school comedy romp in old school fashion.
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Director: Fausto Brizzi

Writer: Fausto Brizzi, Massimiliano Bruno, Marco Martani, Giannandrea Pecorelli

Starring: Nicolas Vaporidis, Giorgio Faletti, Cristiana Capotondi, Sarah Maestri, Chiara Mastalli, Andrea De Rosa, Eros Galbiati, Elena Bouryka, Valeria Fabrizi, Ric, Valentina Idini

Year: 2006

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: Italy


Italian 2007

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