How often does a director make pretty much the same film twice in a row and pretty much nail it both times? In 2001, Gabriele Muccino announced himself on the international scene with ”The Last Kiss,” a pointed yet bright Italian marriage dramedy about a guy named Carlo who cheats on his fiery paramour, Giulia. Now Muccino scores again with Remember Me, My Love, another marriage dramedy – more autumnal and sad, but still fast and furious – following an older different guy named Carlo (a silver-mopped Fabrizio Bentivoglio), who also cheats on his mercurial hot-wire of a wife, Giulia (Laura Morrante). With ”The Matrix Reloaded”’s Monica Bellucci as the other woman, no less.
So here’s the writer-director mussing the hair on all the ideas he fell in love with the first time around. This time, a speeding deus ex machina in the third act throws the movie off, at least until a brilliant question mark of a last shot. But this Carlo and Giulia have a longer history, deeper regrets and disillusionments, and two complicated teenage kids, including a modelesque handful who wants to land a TV gig as what looks like the Italian equivalent of a ”Solid Gold” dancer. That’s a great touch: In ”Remember Me,” it’s not just commitment that’s gone sour – it’s the whole cell-phone, trashy-TV, anarchy-is-dead culture. When Carlo tells Giulia, ”We’ve buried each other under tons of crap,” he isn’t just talking about the two of them as fallen lovebirds; he’s talking about everybody.