Since childhood Edoardo has been suffering from phimosis, a penis malformation which prevents him from experiencing sexual satisfaction. Now seventeen, he starts to feel some pressure from the outside world. Apparently everyone around him talks and thinks about sex: his friend Arturo, so obsessed with losing his virginity that is wanting to pay for it, his parents, encouraging him to declare his love to Bianca, even his little sister Olivia, looking for a good partner for the family dog Teagan. Edoardo's lack of confidence starts changing with the casual meeting of a new girl, Elisabetta, and the unexpected approach of Bianca. Forced to come out of the shadow he was hiding in, Edoardo tries first to solve his problem with clumsy strategies, finding finally the courage to face his fears.
Edo has phimosis. If you don't know, this is a condition in which the foreskin cannot be retracted fully over the glans penis due to tightness. It can be painful and uncomfortable, and may require surgery.
To make matters worse, Edo has no trouble meeting girls, or even finding those willing to have sex with him - not bad for a guy who looks like a taller Bob Dylan.
His voice, more than anything, is a clue that there may be something else missing from Edo, other than correct sexual functioning. It's a small, choked sound, that seems to emanate from a much older man. Indeed, Edo is hunched and stooped, gangly and awkward in a manner more befitting a painfully skinny old person, not a vivacious youth - which Edo is not.
But why Edo is like that, we don't really find out. I guess you have to give the film props that it doesn't serve up the typical adolescent male stereotype - though it does feature a truly bizarre riff on the most famous scene from "American Pie".
There are some things going on his Edo's life aside from his condition. His parents' marriage explodes, and he begins to wonder if his relationship with a close female friend may have romantic potential - and can one have that without the sexual?
But his weird tiny voice and hang-dog demeanour are present before these. It seems like there are, or should be, dimensions to Edo's character that the movie doesn't want to show us. It does show us the character naked - though not his phimosis in any close detail - and it does show him perhaps penetrating the strangest thing I have ever seen penetrated in a movie - but it doesn't really show us his personality, or why he feels the way he feels.
There is a moment in the movie where the character talks about wanting to stick his head out a train window but being scared a tunnel or a pole might cut it off. I expected, nay, I KNEW, that by the end of the movie, he would do so. Because, you know, silly character development the screenwriters learnt in "How to write a screenplay in 15 minutes", available for one Euro in the bargain bin of Italian book stores.
It's just a shame that tome didn't teach how to write a decent character to be developed in the first place.
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