"Come Have Coffee With Us" is an innocent invitation to spy on the middle-age lust of a village bureaucrat and the sexual awakening of three local spinsters. If Ugo Tognazzi hadn't been so gloriously prissy in "La Cage aux Folles," film distributors wouldn't have re-released this 10-year -old movie about this marvelously discreet, indiscreet tax inspector.
Its revival is not the worst of cinema sins. The Alberto Lattuada film, now at the K-B Janus, is a lighthearted, predictable romance, where the action and the characters are moved around with the cautiousness of a new housekeeper sorting the china. The centerpiece of the comedy is Poronzini, the tax official of Lunio, Italy, who wants to bring some respectable stability to his lackluster life. The opportunity comes through a inspection of the property of the Tellamanzi sisters, to whom the years have been kind only in a comfortable dowry.
Few notices of tax auditing have led to such rampant goings on. One by one the sisters fall from their stances as the Village's pious models of decorum to its sexual Olympians. Francesca Coluzzi, Angela Godwin and milena Vukotic as the sisters have a delightful, controlled precision. Expressing each hidden agenda, they etch out memorable portraits of sexual hunger and tension, coquettish flirtation and restrained hysteria.
The inspector is too much of a diaphanous cad to be believed, but Tognazzi wipes away the awkward falseness with his meticulous acting. In every frame he looks purposeful, from the dainty waxing of his mustache to his arrogant orders to one sister to commence her sexual acts. When he finally proposes to the oldest sister in the family's food cellar, glancing through a wreath of sausages, Lattuada's fluid skill at highlighting the hypocrisy of the characters is only heightened by Tognazzi's blank face. The price for Tognazzi's appetite and the stoic adjustment of the now sexually free sisters is a fine conclusion and rendering of cinematic poise.