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In 1986, Mario and Vittorio Cecchi Gori, the prolific and successful Italian producers, assembled an all-star cast for a comedy anthology about a day in a Roman department store, the Grandi Magazzini". Directed by comedy veteran team Castellano and Pipolo, it is just great to see all the popular actors together, regardless what you think about the quality of the humor.
A lot of random gags and short sketches, a couple of characters that are shown multiple times. But there are some elaborated story lines which I found very entertaining and funny: Enrico Montesanto as a dopey toilet cleaner, confused with the son of a store competitor, in hilarious situations with people who all want to take advantage of the relationship. Laura Antonelli (incomparably beautiful, but by 1986 with quite a rough voice) will seduce him, a dept collector will break his bones, and much more. Great stuff.
Meanwhile, the store tries to shoot a commercial with an old drunkard actor (Nino Manfredi) true onslaughts of comedy and awkward moments. Back and forth on his route through Rome, Renato Pozzetto is desperately trying to deliver all orders in time and will meet all kind of weird people.
Many more well known and popular faces of the Italian cinema are present, although I found the random sketches and scenes nowhere as noteworthy, as the main story lines above. And of course, there is some truly awful stuff, too. Basically I disliked everything with the super-stupid watchman, and the Ornella Muti sequence was totally unnecessary. Just to cram in all the actors and gags, the cinematic version, at 110 minutes, does have some bumpy cuts (subsequent TV versions reinstated the complete scenes). Luckily this is not too distracting, and in such a movie with episodic and random structure, it doesn't matter too much anyway.
This is great Italian comedy, made during the heyday of the genre. Grandi Magazzini" does have charm, the special Italian style is there, the typical 80ies synthesizer score, and so many loved faces. Great to see them altogether singing the end theme. Overall, great fun to watch, but it could have been much better without some of the random nonsense.
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