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  Ace Lucky At Cards...
Year: 1981
Director: Franco Castellano, Guiseppe Moccia
Stars: Adriano Celentano, Edwige Fenech, Renato Salvatore, Sylva Koscina, Pippo Santonastaso, Gianni Magni, Memo Dittongo, Elisabetta Viviani, Dino Cassio, Sandro Ghiani, Raffaele di Sipio, Gianni Musi, John Stacy, Gerry Bruno, Franco Belli, Armando Celso
Genre: Comedy, Romance, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Asso (or Ace, in English - Adriano Celentano) is getting married today, to the most beautiful woman around, Silvia (Edwige Fenech), much to the chagrin of all the men who wished they could have been her suitor. In fact, Asso has all the luck, as he is a professional gambler who has made a fortune at poker, well versed in spotting the "tells" of his opponents which has made him practically unbeatable. However, there's going to be a spanner thrown in the works of his long winning streak as Silvia has requested he give up the betting now he's supposed to be settling down, and reluctantly he has agreed, even bearing her wishes in mind when he is invited to gamble on the cost of the wedding party. But if only there was one more chance at the poker table, could he take it with a clear conscience?

This was one of a run of comedies from Italian singer Adriano Celentano throughout the nineteen-seventies and -eighties that capitalised on his early image as his country's Elvis Presley to translate into screen superstardom, largely at home, though other countries on the Continent responded to his laconic, macho image that was not afraid to play up the wackier aspects for the purpose of laughter. Here he was paired with an actress often regarded as one of the best looking stars of her era, in Italy or anywhere else, really, Edwige Fenech, who was unbothered about disrobing for the camera which brought the adulation of her legions of fans, a respect that continues to this day.

Putting these two homegrown megastars together was an obvious choice, and though Fenech may be best known for her work in the giallo field outside Italy, she was just as famed for her comedies there, and sure enough proves bright and vivacious here in a manner that suggests she was well aware of what was expected of her. This could have landed her in a role as strictly a supporting example of decoration, but Celentano was generous enough to give her almost as much to do in the plot as he did, which contributed to the movie's modest charms, more modest than some of his biggest hits at any rate. That plot revolved around not so much an inveterate gambler who cannot give up his profession as it did his new marriage.

That was under pressure not because Silvia insists Asso relinquished his crown as the greatest gambler ever to walk God's green Earth, which predictably he never actually does, it was more to do with what happens when he persuades her one final game will see them set for life and heads off on the night of their wedding to win against a sure thing. Right enough, he does win, thanks to some absurdly over the top tells (sweating buckets, ear twitching dramatically) on the part of his rival, but that morning as he walks home Asso (which the way the characters pronounce it sounds uncomfortably like "Asshole" to English-speakers' ears) is confronted by a genial hitman who informs him there's nothing he can do except accept he must be murdered.

This would seem to be a very short film as Asso is indeed filled full of bullets from a golden gun (for some reason) and topples into the canal, well and truly dead, his winnings floating around him as they drift downstream. So why is it in the next scene he's chatting with Silvia? That's down to a clause in his heavenly contract where in a twist reminiscent of a forties Hollywood fantasy he is able to return to the world in ghost form to ensure she is set up with a new husband to see that she is looked after. Wait, that sounds like something else, doesn't it? There's no proof the makers of Ghost in 1990 saw this, but it was suspiciously similar in narrative if not in execution, the sense of humour being rather different, but on watching Ace it made you think. There followed a selection of setpieces where Asso does his level best to provide for his wife, who takes his demise surprisingly well under the circumstances, many of them relying on easy slapstick and basic effects which offered the odd genial laugh or three in spite of Celentano's slightly overbearing quality. Music by Detto Mariano.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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