Sunday, September 5, 2010

Not Two, But Four

Non c'è due senza quattro; Comedy, Italy/ Brazil, 1984; D: E. B. Clucher, S: Bud Spencer, Terence Hill, April Clough

Stuntman Elliot Vance and Saxophone player Greg Wonder get paid 50,000 $ each to attend a mysterious meeting in New York. There they get informed that a 'double' agency wants to hire them because they look identical to two millionaires from Rio de Janeiro, Bastiano and Antonio, who want them to take their roles for 7 days until they can safely make a profitable contract, since someone wants to kill them. Elliot and Greg at first startle the whole servant army by acting 'untypically' relaxed and casual for Bastiano and Antonio, until they discover who wants to get rid of them: Olympia, Bastiano's girlfriend, because she despises Antonio.

One of the last films by the legendary comic duo Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, "Not Two, But Four", sometimes also translated as "Double Trouble", reunited them with E. B. Clucher, the director who practically established their 'fist fighting' formula with "Trinity", yet it did not manage to break their pale streak of thin films in the 80s. Some of their older comedies were really wonderful, but their new films started to lose that original energy, often resulting in a standard, but watchable fun. In this instance, except for the opulent filming locations in Rio de Janeiro and the well choreographed 5 minute fighting sequence in the bar, which almost reaches Jackie Chan's calibre, there is not much else to see in this story about the two heroes playing 'doubles' of two rich tycoons from Brazil. It's a long empty walk with sparse jokes (in the agency specialized for 'doubles', the manager says that they once sent "doubles of Churchill and Roosevelt at the conference, while the Soviets sent a double of Stalin. Nobody noticed the difference, except that Stalin was always inexplicably giggling"), some of which are almost embarrassing (Greg "talks" with the butt of a dancing girl at the carnival), while the only amusing thing is to again hear that distinctive sound of Spencer and Hill 'fisting' a bad guy. Because, for a double edition of Spencer and Hill, the film offered only half the fun.


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