Owen Gleiberman
January 02, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Pinocchio

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
G
runtime
100 minutes
Wide Release Date
12/25/02
performer
Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Carlo Giuffre, Peppe Barra, Glenn Close, Kim Rossi Stuart
director
Roberto Benigni
distributor
Miramax
author
Roberto Benigni, Vincenzo Cerami
genre
Comedy, Sci-fi and Fantasy

We gave it a F

In Roberto Benigni’s Pinocchio, the beloved/insipid Italian director and clown skips through rooms like a hypomanic elf while the gee-whiz voice of Breckin Meyer, who sounds about 30 years younger than Benigni looks, exclaims things like ”What a fantastic day I’m having!” or — after Pinocchio tells one of his whoppers — ”Look at my nose! I don’t like it, I don’t like it! I don’t want it!” Even after you’re done giggling at the nearly metaphysical disconnect between lips and words, there’s the bizarre sight of Benigni being robbed of his voice, which was always his principal instrument of annoyance. His Pinocchio is meant to be adorable, but he comes off as less an enchanted puppet than as a harmlessly deranged middle-aged man prancing about in the kind of froufrou cream-colored pantsuit that Dinah Shore retired to her back closet in 1977. Would Benigni’s Italian ”Pinocchio” have been any easier to sit through than this hastily dubbed disaster? Hard to say, but the shoddy fake sets and general tone of rustic medieval rib nudging are enough to make you wish that someone would stop Roberto Benigni before he commits wooden whimsy again.

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