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In a smart move, all the characters are introduced while already aboard the bus to Italy, sparing us a lot of exposition up front. The tourists include all the usual types: a lonely secretary looking for love, a couple on their 35th anniversary, a stressed out bookkeeper and a fashion model with the sexy name Ilse Knopf. When her veterinarian boyfriend has to stay home at the last minute, he asks her little brother Herbert to keep an eye on Ilse. This does not stop tour guide Robert Florian from putting the moves on her little straw hat at the first stop, Venice.
They visit many famous Italian landmarks and churches. It is rather strange that all the way to the Coliseum, we are treated to instrumental versions of 'Arrivedeci Roma'. Sort of like leaving L.A. while singing 'California here we come'. Imagine the surprise when Hans the vet shows up with his dog Erwin in his classy convertible to join Ilse after all. A tug of war between Robert and Hans ensues with Ilse spending an equal amount of time on the bus and in the car (her brother is too busy dancing to his tiny transistor radio to be an effective chaperone anyway).
From here on all the other characters are pushed to the background in favor of this not terribly engaging love triangle. There are a couple of moderately amusing running gags (mostly involving Hans and the dog he carries everywhere) and the scenery is beautiful to look at, but some more emphasis on the other vacationers would have been nice. Now the rest of the tourists remain window dressing (Herbert gets a pointless sub plot and the lonely secretary somehow ends up with the least appealing man in the entire group).
5 out of 5
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