Director: Remy van Heugten | 89 minutes | romantic comedy | Actors: Najib Amhali, Elise Schaap, Derek de Lint, Kees Boot, Mimi Ferrer, Nasrdin Dchar, Johnny de Mol, Yolanthe Cabau, Mahjoub Benmoussa, Ronald Top, Manoushka Zeegelaar-Breeveld, Anke van ‘t Hof, Felix Jan Kuipers, Sabri Saad El-Hamus, Jort Kelder
Remy van Heugten delivers his first cinema film with ‘Valentino’. Previously he has shorts, episodes of TV series like “Feuten” and “How do I survive?” and Telefilms directed. ‘Valentino’ is based on the French film called ‘L’Italien’ (Olivier Baroux, 2010). The French-language plot was already there, and the original screenwriter also directed the plot for ‘Valentino’. For Najib Amhali this was his first leading role.
Dino Valentino (Najib Amhali) is an Italian Maserati seller in Amsterdam. After all, they were looking for an Italian salesman, so that’s him. His Italian life is running smoothly. He is a good salesman and when he meets Monique (Elise Schaap), the daughter of his boss (Derek de Lint), it turns out that she is the love of his life. They are engaged within a year. One problem remains: Dino is actually a Moroccan, named Farid. The upcoming wedding and Ramadan in the summer make it increasingly difficult to hide his true identity. As a result, he becomes entangled in his own web of lies, a web in which he seems to lose his beloved Monique.
Valentino is the most stereotypical Italian you have ever seen. He drives around in his Maserati, wears a gold ring, designer shoes and has smooth talk. But because he’s someone who pretends to be Italian, you just take the clichés for granted. ‘Valentino’ is what we can expect from a romantic comedy: the main character Dino Valentino has something to say, but postpones it time and time again. As a result, he ends up in the most uncomfortable, but for the viewer comical, situations.
The multicultural aspect in particular makes for funny situations. Dino Valentino’s secret attempt to follow Ramadan results in secretly throwing food away, getting up stealthily at sunrise and praying in the strangest places. Every scene features the necessary jokes and gags, making ‘Valentino’ entertaining from start to finish. The humor is a bit lackluster now and then and sometimes it goes just that one step too far, but in most cases it stays with the dry humor that the Dutch public loves. And of course everyone knows in advance how ‘Valentino’ will end. But for those who do not expect depth and want to laugh, this is just a nice film to relax on.