4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Abysmal Italian sex drama which cannot even gain mileage from the novelty casting of Ernest Borgnine.
Jonathon Dabell (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Todmorden, England
19 August 2005
There are a couple of things about this Italian sex drama that are
surprising, but none that are surprising in a good way. Surprise number
one is the fact that the casting folks managed to get Ernest Borgnine
to appear in a film of this kind. Surprise number two is that a film
about Italian hookers could turn out to be so deadly dull - and it
doesn't matter whether you're watching it for the story or the sex,
because on both counts the film is an absolute snoozer.
Nira (Francoise Fabian) runs an elite brothel, under the guise of an
art gallery in Rome. When she sells "paintings" she is, in fact,
setting up her wealthy clients with stunning, high-class prostitutes.
Nira has a select band of customers, including businessman Max (Ernest
Borgnine), an ageing and gentlemanly client who dreams of finding the
right girl to marry. Nira's motive for running the business is to pay
for a new home and life for herself and her lover Alberto. However, as
she enters the final few weeks of her career Nira begins to become more
ruthless and close-minded towards her hookers, thus alienating them and
forcing them to cut their ties with her. She finds herself turning to a
married neighbour, Senine (Corinne Clery), to handle her remaining
appointments.... but even there Nira treats Senine unfairly and
disrespectfully. Just as Nira is about to escape the unsavoury
existence she has carved for herself, the fates throw up one last cruel
twist that shatters her dreams....
Natale In Casa D'Appuntamento (or whatever title you know it by - e.g.
"Love By Appointment", "Christmas At The Brothel" or "Holiday Hookers")
is a pointless and interminable time-waster. One can only assume that
it is trying to convey some kind of message about the relationship
between prostitutes and their employers, or prostitutes and their
clients, or maybe even employers and clients.... but whatever the point
may be, it is lost in endless scenes of boring chit-chat and po-faced
philosophy. Borgnine - a former Oscar-winner for "Marty", and
relatively fresh from hit movies like "The Wild Bunch" and "The
Poseidon Adventure" - looks as out of place as a camel in Antarctica.
He plays his character as an ingratiating, over-bearing "gentleman",
and looks thoroughly embarrassed of his involvement in the whole thing.
The film is sheer hell to sit through, yet has the nerve to end at a
totally bewildering point (leaving the viewer more irritated and
unsatisfied than ever). It took 90 minutes of my life to watch this
film.... and I want that 90 minutes back!!!
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