The classic character and collection of jokes and over-the-top scenes have become fan favourites
Alberto Sordi, the anti-hero of Italian comedy, passes the baton to Carlo Verdone, with Sergio Leone’s blessing
Oscar Pettinari is one of the most popular characters created by Carlo Verdone. He is a rude, overbearing and melancholic loser, yet heroic in his own way. He has many dreams (like becoming an Italian version of Rambo) but they all come crashing down amidst the reality of casting calls, hysterical actresses and crazy lawyers. Today, the film is seen as a sort of anthology of classic scenes and dialogues, which many fans have learned by heart (such as the opening scene at the pinball machine with the classic line: “you’re using your wrist too much and you’re not moving your arm the right way”). The anti-hero of Italian comedy, Alberto Sordi, plays the role of the shifty lawyer. Oscar Pettinari bears a certain resemblance to one of Sordi’s characters, Nando Meliconi, alias Santi Bailor from Un americano a Roma, who acts like he’s on the streets of Kansas City and takes his revenge on a plate of spaghetti with his fork. Verdone wrote the screenplay together with Rodolfo Sonego (who worked on some of Sordi’s best films) and Sergio Leone (who also produced the film).
Oscar dreams of being like Stallone in Rambo, but casting directors don’t think he has the right face for that kind of role. A shifty lawyer convinces him to fake an accident by throwing himself in front of a producer’s car. But driving the car is a young up-and-coming actress, whose face is injured in the crash. Believing her career is over, she goes to live in Oscar’s house…