|Roberto Benigni - Making Mass Death Funny!
Here is my bold opening paragraph.
Sure, the world sucks sometimes. Sure, thereís death, evil, hurt, pain, and syphillis. Why, itís enough to make you want to punch someone in the crotch. Thank God thereís Roberto Benigni. Roberto has taught us that the best way to deal with painful death is to laugh at it. And then to fall on your ass, or hang out with a retarded guy. In "Life is Beautiful", we learned that the Holocaust wasnít the big depress-a-thon that Spielberg made it out to be. Yeah, sure, millions of people were killed, but hey - it was fun! There were cute kids! And big-ass tanks! And in the end, everyone was smiling. Except for Roberto. He was dead. But I bet he was making Jesus laugh by getting caught on the pearly gates as he tried to climb it to retrieve a lost frisbee.
So, you can see that Roberto Benigni shows us that death is funny, provided he is involved in some fashion. Still donít believe me? Letís look at this example:
Not Funny: Princess Dianaís tragic death in a car crash.
Funny: Princess Dianaís tragic death in a car crash, caused by a crazy waiter (played by Roberto) who accidentally runs her car off the road when heís trying to return her forgotten purse in his trusty yet oft-times malfunctioning moped! Whoops! That darn Roberto! Canít you get that moped fixed?
If we want to learn how to better cope with tragedy, we have to turn to this beloved Italian. Look at how the following tragedies can be "cheered up" with the sure hand of Roberto:
Not Funny: The Oklahoma City Bombing.
Funny: Roberto plays a guy who hates the government. But not as much as he hates his neighbourís dog! Heís always peeing on Robertoís leg and chewing up his newspaper. Ha ha! Then he chases after the dog with his legally bought handgun, but he slips on a banana peel! Oh, Roberto! Wackiness ensues when Roberto drives the van with the bomb hooked up to explode in 5 minutes into the building, and he canít unbuckle his safety belt. Uh oh!
Not Funny: The starving kids in Ethiopia.
Funny: Roberto goes to Ethiopia to feed those starving kids. Then he gets bitten in the ass by his pet horse, Lamont.
Not Funny: The Columbine Shootings
Funny: Roberto plays a kooky goth teenager who is always getting picked on by a large bully. He tries to get his revenge by squirting him with a water-gun, but due to a wacky mix-up, he accidentally grabs his fatherís semi-automatic. Then the trigger gets stuck! He just canít stop the bullets from ripping through those popular kidsí flesh! His real-life wife, Nicoletta Braschi stars as the head cheerleader who Roberto falls in love with. And then shoots accidentally.
Not Funny: The bombing of Hiroshima.
Funny: Roberto plays a Japanese sushi-shop owner (using the tasteful special effect of scotch tape on his eyelids to make them all slanty) who grows a third leg from radiation poisoning. Whereís the comedy, you ask? Dude, heís got three legs! Thereís gonna be some serious kicking of pompous people in the buns, Charlie!
Not Funny: The Shootout at Waco
Funny: Roberto plays a guy who thinks heís Jesus. Jackie Chan plays a guy who thinks heís Satan. They slap each other for 90 minutes. Jackie Chan hits Roberto with a large salami. Roberto swears in Italian. Then the FBI shoots them both.
I think Iíve proven my point. Next week: Would Saddam Hussein be funnier if he was accompanied at all times by the Little Rascals?
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=332
originally posted: 02/25/01 10:44:23