Alessandro Guida and Matteo Pilati’s Mascarpone (Maschile Singolare), is a sweet and sexy piece of romantic fluff, but damn those Italians know how to whip up a treat! If stunning men, in stunning rooms, filled with stunning things, in stunning buildings, in a stunning city is your kind of thing, well, you’ll be stunned!
Devoted, sensitive Antonio (Drag Race Italia extra guest judge Giancarlo Commare) spends his days sleeping in, going to the gym and baking for his husband of 12 years, Enrico (Fabio Fappiano). When Enrico comes home one day and ends their marriage, a heartbroken Antonio is thrown out into a world of gay single life that he has never experienced before to discover who is on his own and what he wants from a lover.
Mascarpone is gay date night perfection. A light, romantic drama in which every frame is gorgeously composed by cinematographer Michel-clement Franco. The men are beautiful to watch, the sex is fun, and the story is genuinely quite moving (if you ignore the fact that it’s pretty people having pretty people problems crying pretty tears). It’s basically a gay version of a Jennifer Lopez/Sandra Bullock/Julia Roberts rom-com, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
As Antonio gets to know his new sex-positive flatmate Denis (Eduardo Valdarnini), he starts working as an apprentice baker for the handsome Luca (Gianmarco Saurino), and hits the dating scene while still pining for his now ex-husband. Antonio soon gets up to speed on modern gay life and starts to build a new community around himself.
Antonio’s journey is charmingly depicted thanks to a very strong screenplay by Giuseppe Paternò Raddusa, along with Pilati and Guida, that highlights the naive Antonio’s heartbreak and dating faux pas. As he gets more comfortable sleeping with other men, his life opens up to more possibilities (not always positive ones) and he learns some tough lessons. All the while he gets to know himself and tries not to repeat past mistakes. Does he really want to be a baker, or is he following Luca’s dream for him? Does he want to go back to being an architect and move to Milan with the gorgeous photographer Thomas (Lorenzo Adorni)? Or is he just trying to please the men around him, like he did with his husband?
There is a strong element of early-00’s rom-com here, and that’s a strength. There are no slapstick chases or physical comedy moments, but the lightness and sweetness of the best of those films is present. While the dramatic moments never veer into melodrama. It’s a great balancing act. Guida and Pilati serve up the Italian version of an Adam Shankman movie and I’m here for it. In my headcanon, I’ve already mapped out what happens six months after the film ends, that’s how invested I was.
This is slick, glossy, feel-good cinema that will take you a ride before taking you to an emotionally satisfying ending. Much like the tiramisu the film keeps evoking, it’s the combination of lightness and flavour that make Mascarpone such a satisfying treat. Delizioso!
By Chad Armstrong
Mascarpone (Maschile Singolare) plays the Mardi Gras Film Festival on Friday February 18th. The festival runs until March 3rd 2022. Click here for session times and tickets.