Claudia Verdone’s misfortune is the Italian expectation that comedy exists to produce guffaws. When it doesn’t it’s considered wan or self-important. This film emerges from Woody Allen’s palette — a study of neurosis and therapy with some lightly comic pokes to remind you the people involved really aren’t very happy.
Every week, eight Romans attend a group therapy session with woman shrink who’s never pictured. Gegé (Verdone) is suffocated by his father, Chiara (Anita Caprioli) is bulimic, Flavia (Margherita Buy) is a high school teacher who’s can’t decide if she prefers shoes or finding Mr. Right, Gabriella (Lucia Sardo) is 50ish and hates aging, Ernesto (Antonio Catania) sleeps in trains because that’s the only place he can.
Verdone tenderly avoids cheap laughs because in the end no one’s predicament is especially funny. He probes post-modern maladies without fanfare, which alienates guffawers. Moreover, no one is cured; no one is saved. Incipient love affairs falter. The luminous Buy mixes passion and frail tics, her canny gift. Verdone orchestrates the connections with dexterity and adds his own kind-hearted edginess.