Belli Ciao is a fish out of water buddy comedy starring the popular Italian comedy duo of ‘Pio & Amedeo’. Friends since childhood Pio D’Antini and Amedeo Grieco (credited under their own names) always had their eyes set on bigger things. While Pio wished to be a success in the world of business, Amedeo aimed for a career in the medical field. Fate would take the two friends down different paths with Pio leaving their poor village of Sant’Agata di Puglia, Italy for the bright lights up in Milan. Years later Pio is a successful financial advisor and Amedeo remains in town to work in a health shop. Pio is called in by mayor (Giorgio Colangeli) to assist in the issue of “brain drain” caused by youth leaving for more successful careers abroad. Expanding the town being an expensive proposition a loan is quickly agreed upon with a hefty interest rate. Realising they’ve bittin off more than they can chew Amedeo is sent to Milan to renegotiate a better deal for the town. Over 5 days not only does Amadeo learn what things are like in the big city but he reminds Pio of things he left behind.

Personally I hadn’t heard of the duo of ‘Pio & Amedeo’ before this movie. This may be because the two have had 8 year lull in between features with their last cinematic role being in 2014. Despite that the 2 have lost nothing in timing or chemistry as I immediately found them a hilarious team. Co-writing Belli Ciao with director Gennaro Nunziante, Pio or Amedeo show a range of abilities as entertainers. Nether are afraid of being the straight man or the stooge depending on what the situation calls for. This particular style is something I’ve always appreciated in comedy groups.

Usually these culture clash movies lean one way or the other with a beatnik coming to the big city or a yuppie out in the sticks. Belli Ciao bucks that trend by focusing on both scenarios equally. I find also that many Italian films focus on this nostalgia for “the old country” and that’s something Belli Ciao plays heavily on.

The town of Sant’Agata di Puglia is shot beautifully but then so is the city of Milan. While Belli Ciao does parody the differences between north and south the point is made that neither is “better” they’re just different. 

The humour of Belli Ciao can be extremely cheesy at times as can it’s plot. This might be a turn off for some viewers but I found that I actually quite enjoyed it. Despite featuring many in jokes on Italian culture and society it is still approachable to an outsider. The divide between rich and poor, social media these things are universal. It may not be very intelligent satire but it makes for an enjoyable film nonetheless. 

I loved many of the minor characters and their particular quirks as well. The assistant Pio leaves in charge during an audit with the sole instruction of “be positive” was hilarious in the extremes it reaches. The mayor who talks relentlessly in Latin phases which even is fellow countrymen can’t understand was endearing also.

I think what makes the film so positive is it’s story doesn’t follow a rigid formula. Rather than the predictable ups and downs of an American comedy this movie is 90 minutes of shameless fun. Belli Ciao, much to the film’s credit, is not interested in forced drama. It is simply a movie about two estranged best friends reconnecting that bond they had lost.

Although not a particularly deep film Belli Ciao is still great fun. The duo of Pio and Amedeo bring the laughs in this feel good comedy about the things we leave behind when looking forward.