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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Pinocchio (review)

This absolutely (and unintentionally) terrifying production of the classic children’s tale will have parents and kids alike squirming in their seats. From his own unintelligible script, director Roberto Benigni has created a baroque nightmare of creepy half-humans/half-animals, disturbing imagery of hanging and torture, and a Blue Fairy (Nicolette Braschi) with more fashion sense than brains. Benigni tries desperately to imbue it all with magical charm and slapstick humor, but it’ll be all you can do to keep from fleeing the theater screaming in agony. The worst misfire of all is Benigni’s inexplicable decision to cast his own 50-year-old self as Pinocchio. Not only does he look nothing like a small boy, no attempt has been made to alter his appearance to the more puppetlike. Add to that the excitable surfer-dude voice performance of Breckin Meyer as Pinocchio in the dubbed-from-the-Italian American version, and this bizarrity might just achieve a level of badness with cult appeal.

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MPAA: rated G

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
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