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Viva La Liberta: Your Standard Twin-Switcheroo Picture, in Italian 

Tuesday, Dec 30 2014
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Roberto Andò's Italian political comedy Viva La Liberta starts off promisingly, with a crowd of people walking purposefully through the twisting halls of power. It's an image reminiscent of Armando Iannucci projects such as The Thick of It, In the Loop, and Veep, but Viva La Liberta lacks the bite of Iannucci's satires, gumming harmlessly at its prey instead of rending its flesh. Dying both in the polls and in his soul, opposition party head Enrico Oliveri (Toni Servillo) decides to bail, landing on the Parisian doorstep of his ex-girlfriend Danielle (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), her film-director husband (Eric Nguyen), and their adorable moppet (Stella Kent). Meanwhile, Enrico's handler (Valerio Mastandrea) enlists Enrico's twin brother Giovanni (also Servillo, obviously) to impersonate Enrico; philosopher Giovanni was only recently released from the loony bin, and of course his craziness-as-straight-talk turns the party around. Twin-switching movies require an extra degree of suspension of disbelief — last year's The Pretty One made it work — but the deception in Viva La Liberta veers dangerously close to what Roger Ebert used to refer to as an Idiot Plot, meaning a plot that only functions because the characters are mostly idiots. And that would be okay if the movie was funnier than it is, or had a more interesting point.

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Sherilyn Connelly


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