I Can Quit Whenever I Want 2: Masterclass: The research gang is back
by Vittoria Scarpa
- Hitting Italian screens from 2 February, the eagerly awaited second chapter in the saga by Sydney Sibilia is an action-comedy revolving around brain drains, smart drugs and chases through ancient Rome
Preceded by a massive promotional campaign based on viral videos, catchy slogans, and specially made posters that ape popular TV series and comic strips, I Can Quit Whenever I Want 2: Masterclass [+see also:
film profile] finally hits screens today. This is the hotly anticipated sequel to the extremely successful debut film by 35-year-old Sydney Sibilia, which in 2014 wowed and charmed everyone, public and critics alike, recounting the story of a gang of distinguished university researchers who push smart drugs in order to get by (I Can Quit Whenever I Want [+see also:
interview: Sydney Sibilia
film profile], which grossed €4 million in Italy and won the Italian Golden Globe for Best Comedy).
The second instalment in the trilogy (the third film, Ad Honorem, has already been shot and will be out in the autumn – see the news) sees the adventures of neurobiologist Pietro Zinni (Edoardo Leo) and his well-read colleagues take a decidedly more action-packed turn. The tried-and-tested gang made up of a chemist (Stefano Fresi), an economist (Libero De Rienzo), an archaeologist (Paolo Calabresi), an anthropologist (Pietro Sermonti) and a couple of Latin scholars (Lorenzo Lavia and Valerio Aprea) is enriched with some brand-new members – victims of the so-called brain drain – leading them off on a mission that will force them to become “the scholarly arm of the law”.
Sure enough, the gang changes sides: in exchange for a clean criminal record, they are asked to collaborate, in secret, with the police in order to halt the rapid spread of new drugs, at the request of ambitious police inspector Paola Coletti (Greta Scarano). However, for this new task, they will need some backup. Cue the anatomist freshly back from Bangkok, where he has been placing his thorough knowledge of the human body at the service of clandestine Muay Thai matches (a hilarious and athletic Marco Bonini); the mechatronic engineer so upset at the cuts in research funding that he moved to Nigeria to sell the most ridiculous kinds of weapons (Giampaolo Morelli); and the lawyer specialising in canon law, stationed in the Vatican (Rosario Lisma).
This issue of the brain drain, or the fact that experts are being driven abroad, reminds us of the social context from which the first film in the trilogy was born: the chronic unemployment of young graduates in Italy. But whereas the first movie dug deep and was highly provocative, allowing plenty of room for the sense of humiliation felt by those who, after years of studies, cannot find a single shred of work, thus rendering their subsequent redemption in the hyper-profitable world of drug trafficking all the more shocking and paradoxical, this second chapter invests everything it has in entertaining the audience, showing off a well-oiled machine (the respective expertise of the group members downgraded within a criminal context, the eloquent language, the use of highly sophisticated tools and so on). All of this is in aid of an action-comedy that harks back to the great classics (in fact, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and the poliziotteschi Italian crime films from the 1970s all feature among the references quoted by the director himself), in which there is no shortage of assaults, mishaps, pursuits amidst the ruins of ancient Rome, and punch-ups on the roof of a speeding train.
This is a well-crafted and entertaining film – and it knows it. The sequel promises more laughs than the first movie, but even so, let’s not be so sure. In any case, it’s a laudable and courageous effort by producers Domenico Procacci (Fandango) and Matteo Rovere (Groenlandia), who, with these two sequels filmed back to back for almost 20 weeks all around the globe, prove they don’t back down when it comes to being bold and making something different in the Italian cinema landscape. It hits 500 Italian screens today, 2 February, courtesy of 01 Distribution.
(Translated from Italian)
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