The Monster *** (out of 5) (1994)

Cast: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Michel Blanc, Dominique Lavanant

Directed by Roberto Benigni

A hideous serial killer (and sex offender) is salking the women around the city, and a wise-ass schlep named Loris is mistaken to be him. The police send a female officer to go undercover by providing the "bait" where they can catch him in the act.

Before the excellent LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, Benigni was known for his straight-up farce style such as that found in IL MOSTRO (THE MONSTER). Benigni is really a one-man show, and his slapstick timing and sight gags will have fans of THE THREE STOOGES and THE MARX BROTHERS in stitches. While THE MONSTER does have a few uproarious moments, it is hurt by long stretches where very little is fresh or funny and the plot involving the serial killer takes a back seat to some high energy set pieces for Benigni to do his thing. Recommended for the laughs in a few scenes, but not particularly memorable otherwise.

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