Think Wolf of Wall Street, goes flippant in Italian, and you won't be far wrong. There are some excellent pieces of dialogue in amongst a total mess of a narrative, and common to all Sorrentino productions the cinematography is excellent; plus the lead, Toni Servillo, is brilliant. But the film never really manages to hold your attention long enough for you to care. You feel like you've just watched 25 MTV classy music videos stuck together, many of them heavily stylised like an Italian perfume advert, often crass, always full of posed situations, partial nudity, terrible dancing, and dozens of pouting Italian woman wanting to be noticed.
At times I just felt embarrassed, for Sorrentino as he continues his over obsession with close-ups of young woman. I know it's all part of the grotesque Berscoloni effect he's trying to portray but it just lacks any subtlety and it's so superficial. When satire slips into being cartoon-esque it gets really tiresome, particularly when it's in sub-titles.
It's quite obvious that Sorrentino is using the Berscoloni story as a critique on modern Italy, but you just feel that such a great director has really gone obese on this project, as he flip flops from Mel Brooks to serious early Sorrentino films and back again often in the same scene! And it just feels too long, even though we get to see the "international" version at 2hrs 10mins,which has had some serious editing from the original 4hr version. But itt doesn't feel like it. My wife admitted to falling asleep twice during the movie!