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Rome, circa 1900: Fish monger Nino (Adriano Celentano) has just been released from
prison, where he spent a year because of a knife fight, and once he's out
he wants to have his revenge on Augustorello, the guy who saw to it that
he got arrested in the first place - simply because he's after Nino's
fiancée Rosa (Claudia Mori).
However, once Nino has publicly humiliated Augustorello, he's prepared
to forget the whole thing ... but a) Augustorello can't forget Rosa, and
b) Augustorello's brothers, butchers as opposed to fish monger Nino, won't
let their brother lose face and so they challenge Nino and his friends to
a stonethrowing duel, in which they are defeated though.
Still, Augustorello tries everything to win Rosa's heart even though
she's not interested, and eventually, he almost forces Nino to humiliate
him some more, this time in a drinking game. This leaves Augustorello so
enraged that he tries to stab Nino right then and there, and even
critically wounds him, but when he tries to make his getaway, he falls
into his own knife and dies.
Augustorello's brothers now see to it that Nino is brought back to
health, but not out of a bad conscience but because they want to restore
their brother's honour, who they think was killed by Nino. Finally, when
nino is his old self again, Bartolomo, the eldest of Augustorello's
brothers, sets a date for a knife duel, just one week prior to Nino's
wedding to Rosa - and Rosa tries everything to keep Nino from keeping the
date, including seducing him even if that means he could no longer marry
her - and when that doesn't work she even turns to the neighbourhood's
treacherous pawnbroker the Chinaman - but is shocked when he asks for a
blowjob in return for his services.
Nino and Bartolomo soon engage in mortal combat, only to be stopped
just before they kill one another by the local inspector (Romolo Valli),
who has conclusive proof that Augustorello did actually fall in his own
knife and Nino had nothing to do with it. Nino and Bartolomo and his
brothers reconcile on the spot.
Back with Rosa, Nino learns what the Chinaman asked of her and publicly
A week later, at Nino's and Rosa's wedding, the Chinaman suddenly pulls
a gun and ...
While being a far cry from director Sergio Corbucci's masterpieces like
Django and The Great
Silence, Er Più: Storia d'Amore e di Coltello is still a
decent directorial effort, with some great period sets and costumes, that
give the film an unusually lavish look considering it's just a comedy. The
weak points of the film are the script, which is often episodic and seems
to lose its direction every now and again, and some of the comedy
involved, which often comes across as simply childish (as is often the
case with Italian comedies). On the plus side, Adriano Celentano, actually
a singer first and an actor and comedian only second, manages to easily
carry the film on his shoulders, and what he lacks in acting he makes up
by his rugged charisma, his natural talent for comedy, and quite simply
the fact that he doesn't try too hard to be funny (and is all the funnier
because of it.
All that said, the film is certainly nothing great, but
it's watchable all the same.