The writer and director of this comedy, Maurizio Nichetti, is also its star, known as the "cousin." Essentially mute and always nameless, the cousin pays tribute to one of Nichetti's favorites, the silent comedian Buster Keaton and his inventive sight gags. In a remake of the Rip Van Winkle nap, the cousin falls sleep while watching television and wakes up two decades later, a grown man and unable to utter a word. He becomes a member of his cousin's household in Milan, setting off his own silent antics against the three women who already live in the house -- an actress, a schoolteacher, and an artist. The cousin and the actress get jobs as extras in the same commercial in which Nichetti breaks form and pronounces his only line, "I made a splash." That becomes the leitmotif of the action, as the manic scenes lead from a riotous wedding to backstage during a performance of La Scala. Nichetti's unrelenting jabs at the worlds of television and advertising provide a comedic shakedown that is sharpened by the innovative use of split screens, animation, and in contrast to the mute "cousin," inanimate objects that talk.
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