In one-joke movies, it helps if the one joke is funny. In "Where's Picone?" it isn't.

Where's Picone? Who cares Picone?

How's Picone? Not good. At the outset, he appears in a courtroom and sets himself on fire; an ambulance takes him away. His wife (Lina Sastri), in the quest to find either him or his corpse, enlists the aid of Salvatore (Giancarlo Giannini), a two-bit hustler on the fringes of life.

What's Picone? A pimp, an extortionist, an adulterer, as Salvatore soon finds out. Some of this redounds to Salvatore's good fortune. Armed with a notebook listing the people who owed Picone, he wanders through Naples, announces "Picone sent me" and gets paid. Some of it doesn't. Salvatore is beaten, tossed in the harbor and menaced with bombs and knives by people who bore the missing Picone no good will.

Why's "Picone"? Now there's a question to mull over, and believe me, you will.

The movie has a single good line: asked "How's Picone?" Salvatore replies, "A bit inflamed." Otherwise, the movie relies largely on Giannini's fidgety, one-note Little Tramp riff, as he becomes involved with events he can't control.

He bumps his head and says, "Managgia!" Sneaking away, he walks into a door. Picone's wife drives recklessly; he fidgets. He muses philosophically, "What's the use of getting mad?"; a dog eats his pasta, and he gets mad. An invalid bedridden by a rat's bite says, "I'm here because of a rat"; he says, "You too?" And then: "Oh, a real rat!"

And they search and they search and you finally realize why it's so hard to find Picone. He must be the screen writer.