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PINOCCHIO

The sight of the 50-year-old Roberto Benigni cavorting around in a clown costume in the title role of this live-action version of Pinocchio is one of the most obnoxious star turns ever captured on film. Benigniís Pinocchio is less a man child than he is a simpleton; his character is dumber than anyone has the right to be. His childish antics are grating, making the indulgences of his long-suffering father, Geppetto (Carlo Giuffrè), and his guardian angel, the Blue Fairy (played by Benigniís wife, Nicoletta Braschi), incomprehensible. Adding to the surreal awfulness of the film is Miramaxís decision to dub the dialogue in English using the voices of American actors; that leads to some of the few (unintentional) laughs in the film. Pinocchio is beautiful to look at, thanks to cinematographer Dante Spinotti and production designer Danilo Donati, but pretty sets canít save this disaster.

BY BROOKE HOLGERSON

Issue Date: January 2 - 9, 2003
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