Roberto Benigni shows up briefly in Caterina in the Big City (in Italian with English subtitles), but there's someone else who really sparks this coming-of-age picture set in Rome.
16-year-old Alice Teghil adds much to the comedy in the title role as a high school student moves from rural Italy to the famous, adored city.
Caterina enrolls in the old school of her father (noted actor Sergio Castellitto). She soon learns the politics is as important in the Eternal City as fashion is in other places. Consider a Mean Girls, Italian style, with the popular right-wing rich sect vying with the activists, modern hippie types. She gets a little taste of both groups.
Castellitto's accounting professor, in a plot strand similar to Look at Me, has ideas of one of his daughter's new upper-class friends' parent to get his new book published.
The light directorial touch by Paolo Virzi shows flair for contemporary Italy while making a fun time for Caterina, as Teghil can be waifish but also alluring. She sashays around all of the atmospheric proceedings with some of the grace that Audrey Hepburn demonstrated in Roman Holiday.
Throughout a cohesiveness may be lacking, but Caterina in the Big City has a genuine sincerity marked by the princess within Teghil and the ability to send-up the division of political lines.
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