My Name is Tanino (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

My Name is Tanino is an Italian coming-of-age comedy which never reached the States and is not available on North American DVD.

So why the hell am I watching an Italian DVD and writing about this film?

The primary reason is that it features topless nudity from a young Canadian starlet named Rachel McAdams who was virtually an unknown when she did this movie, but is now on her way toward A-list stardom after a string of successes like Mean Girls, Wedding Crashers, Red-Eye, and especially The Notebook.

McAdams plays Sally, an American student who is vacationing in Italy when she encounters a helpful young Italian teenager. They spend some time together and exchange a brief kiss, all of which is just casual for her, but is built up in his mind as a great romantic opportunity, to the extent that he leaves Italy to track her down in America, with comical consequences. She is embarrassed to see him on her doorstep and tries to get rid of him as gently as possible, but a concatenation of circumstances leads to his being invited to stay with her family. This creates even more outrageous circumstances which lead Sally's father to assume that Tanino is the long-suspected lover of Sally's mother. Poor, clueless Tanino ends up fleeing the house at rifle-point.

Tanino, who is a film student back in Italy, then spends the rest of his American holiday making a pilgrimage to see the great director "Chenowsky," during which he passes through various Italian-American households and experiences more comic misadventures and cultural misunderstandings.

It seems like a good movie. I enjoyed the situations, and I could follow the movie in a general sense, but only a small portion of it is in English and there are no subtitles. (Well, to be more precise, there are Italian subtitles during the English portions!) Even Rachel McAdams performs most of her lines in Italian, even in the American scenes, because Tanino's grasp of English is as bad as my grasp of Italian, which is to say somewhere between zero and rudimentary. McAdams speaks to Tanino in Italian, and also has to translate her family's English for Tanino. I therefore can't offer much in terms of analysis since I couldn't enjoy the dialogue, or understand the jokes, and I didn't even look at the second disk full of special features because I knew I'd be lost.

The IMDb has several votes and comments (mostly quite positive), and RAI's English language review (very enthusiastic about the first half, disappointed with the conclusion) is linked below.

The DVD is in PAL format, Region Zero, and can be ordered from an American distributor here.
  • widescreen, anamorphically enhanced
  • full-length director's commentary (with others as well)
  • interview with the director
  • interview with the star
  • behind-the-scenes featurette


Rachel McAdams and Meredith Ostrom swim and sun bathe topless.

Another actress, playing Tanino's mother in flashbacks (I think) shows one breast.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Here is the recap from RAI, which is sort of the Italian BBC.

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, I am guessing it is a C or C+. I liked what I understood, but that was only a small portion of the film's charm, and you'll need a grasp of Italian to really appreciate it.

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