The Monster

Roberto Benigni (Life Is Beautiful) directed, cowrote (with Vincenzo Cerami), and stars in this funny if slightly overextended 1995 comedy about a doofus who’s mistaken for a crazed sex killer. Benigni’s brand of vulgar, high-spirited physical comedy, influenced by the erotic inflections of some of Tex Avery’s wartime cartoons, tends to be casually leering in its sexual politics. The sex comedy is funniest in the very skillfully performed extended scenes featuring Nicoletta Braschi (Benigni’s wife) as a policewoman; it’s most tiresome when it focuses on the machinations of a crazed psychiatrist played by Michel Blanc (who, like Jean-Claude Brialy, is dubbed into Italian). (JR)

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