Ferruccio, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways. You're a true bro to Guido, and…oh, guess that's about it. One way. Elizabeth Browning would be sorely disappointed in our love-counting skills.
In our defense, Ferruccio's whole purpose in the movie is to be Guido's bro. He's a card-carrying member of the buddy archetype.
As the name suggests, the buddy's role is to buddy and buddy good. He or she is there to listen to the protagonist's problems, to help them win their true love's heart, and to offer comic relief when necessary. This character type is a staple of rom-coms, right up there with love at first sight and third-act misunderstandings.
Don't believe us? Let's count 'em down.
- Rob Reiner and Rosie O'Donnell pull buddy duty in Sleepless in Seattle.
- Dave Chapelle in You've Got Mail.
- There's Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers.
- Rupert Everett in My Best Friend's Wedding.
- Oh, Judy Greer in 27 Dresses.
- Carrie's love life is so hectic in Sex in the City that she needs three buddies.
The list goes on and on.
How does Ferruccio manage to stack up? Pretty well. He goes along with Guido's schemes to win Dora's heart, even letting Guido borrow his car, which is wrecked in the process. Does this place a rift between the two? Nope. The next time we see Ferruccio, he's palling and goofing with Guido at Dora's engagement party.
Most importantly, Ferruccio introduces Guido to the concept of willpower: "Schopenhauer says that with willpower, you can do anything. 'I am what I want to be.'" Guido uses willpower to woo Dora and later protect his son in the concentration camp. In fact, after his last act of willpower—"telling" the dogs to get away from Joshua's hiding place—Guido thanks Ferruccio for the gift.
It's unclear what becomes of Ferruccio; he disappears from the second half of the film. With the rom-com portion complete, his buddy duties have come to an end. We can only hope he continues to write poetry, upholster furniture, and pull buddy duty for some other hopeless romantic. It is, after all, the reason we love this guy.