That’s Pinocchio, all right.
There’s not much to say about this, the title says it all. Pinocchio played by Roberto Benigni.
Everyone and specially their mothers knows about the plot, and this is a straight adaptation, without much flair or modernization. It could be directly transposed into a play, if you exclude some over-the-top special effects.
Roberto Benigni is in his element here. He is constantly happy about everything, screws up big time countless times, apologizes and promises to not do it again, but as ever he falters and the cycle restarts anew. In the last 10 minutes he gets redemption and even gets turned into a real 50 years old boy.
If you want to over-analyse this, you can say this is a metaphor for hard drugs and/or procrastination. You know you want to keep on the straight and narrow, but there is something that compels you to visit the Funtoy Land, or spend all day eating lollies. The hangovers are bad, you feel like a failure and promise your loved ones you won’t do it again, but it comes a time when even you family gives up on you. Only people with fairy-like qualities can still trust you after so many disappointments.
There is a character that dresses in red shirts with red hair called Lucignolo (same root as Lucifer), but it’s a red herring, he his just a cautionary tale that gets turned into a donkey.
Of course, you can just take it face value and see it as “kids should obey their elders” story, with soft punishments, not like the scare ‘em straight Grimm tales.
This was destroyed by American critics, but I don’t think it deserves a 0% rating. Of course, I did not watch the dubbed version, because why dub a film that features a lynching with a giant moon in the backdrop, a character that ask for death multiple times with a smile on his face, or a giant shark that eats people alive? Whoever dubbed this film brought it on themselves, the fools.