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Film / Italiano Medio

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Based on a fake story.

Italiano Medio (Average Italian) is the 2015 directorial debut of TV and web comedian and satirist Maccio Capatonda (real name: Marcello Macchia), based on a 2012 short sketch with the same title, one of the many parody film trailers he made.

The story is about Giulio Verme, an extremely uptight man (he's vegan, does voluntary work, sorts all of his waste, never swears...) who is incredibly worried about the society he lives in and the world at large, and also about the fact that nobody around him seems to care. One day he meets his old childhood friend Alfonzo Scarabocchi, who gives him a mysterious pill that has the ability to change his brain potential... to 2%. From that moment on, he radically changes, becoming the "average Italian" of the title: a moron that only thinks about partying, booze and sex. During one of his alcohol-fueled romps, he devastates the very same park he swore to protect, but when turned back to his old self sees that after the fact the interest of the public about environmental themes seems to increase...

What on the surface seems a wacky Limitless parody is actually a fairly biting satire that skewers several aspects of the Italian society and has been lauded as a new, fresh example of the "Commedia all'italiana" genre which was popular in the 60s and 70s.

This film provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Giulio became the way he is as a reaction to his TV-addicted and ignorant parents. For one, his father forced him to watch soccer on TV in a manner not unlike the Lodovico technique.
  • Adaptation Expansion: An unusual case. Capatonda made several short sketches, comedy trailers that spoofed popular films, conventions of trailers themselves and/or satirized important issues, such as "Italiano Medio" from 2012. Then he decided to actually make the film the fake trailer was about. It's almost like a Defictionalization of itself, if such a thing exists.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: The "Mobbasta", known before as "I Salmoni", or the Salmons (because they "go against the flow"), are more like environmentalists gone mad and plan several actions of eco-terrorism to increase awareness about environmental issues. Naturally, Giulio unwittingly becomes their leader at one point.
  • Betty and Veronica: Giulio's first girlfriend is nerdy Franca (Betty), in contrast to his new flame Sharon (Veronica), a slutty, brainless bimbo and parody of the Ms. Fanservice trope (she actually borders on Fan Disservice). Totally parodied at the end when Giulio can't choose between them and keeps both of them as his girlfriends (and the girls are ok with it).
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • 2%!Giulio enjoys saying "SCOPARE!!!" (more or less "(Let's) Fuck!") every now and then. He even "writes" it in the ground with an excavator, destroying a park in the process! At the very end, after the Split-Personality Merge, he changes it to a calm "Copulare", meaning "to have intercourse".
    • Giancarlo Cartelloni, the entrepreneur who wants to turn the park into an apartment complex, and also Mastervip's main judge, often says "Ma questo è un coglione!" (more or less "This one's a dickhead!").
  • Credits Gag: There are a few. The very first thing that appears on the screen is "A film by Bruno Liegibastonliegi", which is one of many wacky aliases to whom Capatonda's fake trailers are credited. Another example is the wrong credit to Brad Pitt at the beginning or Maccio Capatonda being credited as, besides Giulio and his father, Ruud Gullit (see Paper-Thin Disguise below). And after listing the main actors at the beginning, the opening credits literally end with "and lots of other less important people you will find in the closing credits".
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: To win the reality show "Mastervip" he entered, Giulio (as his shallow personality) must, as the final test, leave behind the things he cares the most: his girlfriend, his wife and his best friend Alfonzo. Being what he is, he actually has no problem telling them to get lost, however the pills' effect begins to wane...
  • Identical Grandson: Maccio Capatonda plays both adult Giulio and his father. By the way, his work partner and friend Herbert Ballerina plays both Giulio's friend Alfonzo and Giulio's mother.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: 2%!Giulio's horrid taste in clothing, pictured in the poster above.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: The pills never actually existed, Giulio's moronic alter ego is a result of the personality traits that he repressed for 30 years and which started to emerge and take over.
  • The Load: One of the Mobbasta's members is a fat bearded guy with a tinfoil hat named "Il Peggiore" (The Worst One) who never speaks, never does anything and is incapable to follow even the simplest instructions.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: The film mocks among other things the issues born after the Great Recession of 2008. Alfonzo is seen changing several jobs throughout the film to make a living, from door-to-door salesman to taxi driver to cross-dressing prostitute.
  • Not So Above It All: Giulio's fiancee, Franca Solidale, seems like the Only Sane Girl in the film, but a few scenes especially the sequence at the very end show that she's exactly as shallow and incompetent as all the others.
  • Pac Man Fever: 2%!Giulio and Alfonzo are seen playing Street Fighter IV one against the other, but Giulio says stuff like "I was just about to face the final boss". Intentional and justified since the two of them are huge morons.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Taken to new extremes. 2%!Giulio wants to enter a very exclusive private club, and all he does is to tell the bouncer that he's Ruud Gullit. Not only the bouncer believes him (even if of course they look nothing alike), but several people inside the club take him for Gullit as well! Later on, Alfonzo tries to do the same thing but is quickly dismissed.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: When near the end of the film Giulio tries to get rid of his alter ego he sees him reflected in the mirror; he then punches it, shattering it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • As a reward to fans, Capatonda put dozens of references to almost all of the sketches he made in his career. Titles, names, catchphrases, even characters, you name it. In the scenes set in an almost abandoned video store, almost all of the titles seen are of the fake films his parody trailers are about!
    • The film, as stated above, is a Limitless parody, but is almost a Whole-Plot Reference of Fight Club. Dissatisfied man has a wild, outgoing alter ego who makes his most secret fantasies become true, becomes part of a group of eco-terrorists, and when their plot is set in motion he no longer wants to be part of it. Also, there's a scene with the Mobbasta group directly parodying the "Rules of Fight Club" speech.
    • A Clockwork Orange: besides the "Lodovico technique" parody referenced above, there's a scene of 2%!Giulio having sex in fast-forward almost identical to the one between Alex and two girls in the film.
    • The video store, that doubles as Mobbasta's headquarters, is plastered with several placards about environmental issues. One of these says SAVE THE CLOCK TOWER!
    • When Giulio becomes leader of the Mobbasta, they react to everything he says as if it's something profound or important advice about their next mission. The scenes are reminiscent of Monty Python's Life of Brian, when the populace thinks Brian is the Messiah and treat everything he says as God's words. Lampshaded when some Mobbasta members produce an image of Giulio in the style of religious icons.
    • Some of Normal!Giulio's dance moves in the Sudden Videogame Moment described below seem to be inspired by Cliff Huxtable's wacky moves in The Cosby Show's opening credits.
    • Giulio Verme's name is an Affectionate Parody to Jules Verne.
  • Split Personality: Normal!Giulio is an overly serious goody two shoes and dedicated environmentalist, while 2%!Giulio is a shallow, obnoxious idiot obsessed with sex and reality shows. The contrast provides the plot of most of the movie and it ends with a Split-Personality Merge in the most ridiculous way possible.
  • Stealth Insult: On the poster, seen above. The words in the title are colored to match the Italian flag, but the central part in white reads ANO, or "anus". This is most likely intentional.
  • Straw Loser: One of "the Salmons" (Giulio's environmentalist group) is a useless and (mostly) speechless guy nicknamed "The Worst" and they keep him around just because "he makes the rest of us look cooler". Of course that's not saying much since they are all portrayed as equally useless.
  • Sudden Videogame Moment: Downplayed example. Near the end of the film the internal struggle in Giulio's mind between the two sides of his personality is represented as a dance-off between them in a white void with energy bars a la 1-vs-1 beat-'em-up. This is somewhat foreshadowed when earlier in the film Giulio and Alfonzo are seen playing Street Fighter IV.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: How Giulio feels in the beginning of the movie. Then he becomes officially one of the idiots.
  • Take That!:
    • The "average Italian" is not just 2%!Giulio and the celebrity-obsessed people he hangs with. The film attacks all those Holier Than Thou people that frown upon the lower classes' tastes (still depicted as trashy and obnoxious, mind you) to feel morally superior, while contributing nothing of value to society. Almost nobody is spared: politicians, journalists, spiritual gurus, people doing volunteer work, vegans, environmental activists, all depicted as clueless, misguided or even malicious.
    • In a way, 2%!Giulio's crass and vulgar demeanor can be seen as a Take That! to the Italian phenomenon of the "cinepanettoni", that is, films being shown around Christmas that consist in little more than Toilet Humour, slapstick, hot girls and exotic locales and still rack up huge amounts of money every year. Capatonda already mocked them a few times, most prominently in his parody trailer Natale al cessonote , and seems to suggest that you need the 2% of your brain to be able to enjoy them.
  • This Loser Is You: Giulio Verme's personalities represent the worst parts of the Italian people:
    • 2%!Giulio represents the celebrity-obsessed, attention-seeking, churlish behaviour people.
    • Normal!Giulio represents the slacktivists who constantly whine about the society values, global warming, people's apathy and animal extinction while doing nothing.
  • Unfortunate Name: Giulio Verme. Verme means "worm". In one of his most miserable moments, Giulio was accompanied by the soundtrack "Vita da verme" (a song performed by Mariottide, one of Maccio Capatonda's most famous characters), that means "A Worm's Life".