The film starts with Giovanna Abastanza (Mariangela Melato) and her boyfriend Claudio (Renato Pozzetto) watching a play about Jean D'arc. We can tell they are together by their matching orange dye jobs. While anyone wh...展开o read the title will suspect to see a film about a police woman, it takes quite a bit of back story before Giovanna makes up her mind to join the force. First she has to be humiliated and groped by every man in her immediate vicinity. Claudio dumps her the moment he learns she might be pregnant (turns out she's not), the guy at the pharmacy starts to get fresh, her lawyer boss can't keep his hands to himself and her father uses her and her mother as his personal slaves. About to board a train to Milano, she spots a recruiting poster for the police and decides to throw away her ticket and stand up for her rights.
There is some broad comedy during the relatively short training sequence (It took the producers of Police Academy ten years to find out they could base seven movies, a cartoon and a TV series on these scenes alone) but soon Giovanna is on the street in uniform to dish out justice, especially to anyone unfortunate to be male (complete with Morricone-esque music). As the first female police officer in this small town, she becomes an overnight sensation. But her strict law imposing soon starts to annoy the corrupt powers that be. It does not take long for all the high ranking individual to form a Godfather style 'family' to bring about the quickest way to discredit her.
Director Steno tries to juggle too many different styles. There is a lot of social commentary about pollution and money washing but we also have slapstick scenes with Renato Pozzetto. Then there is a rather brutal and unnecessary shot of a cow being put down at a slaughter house when Giovanna starts to get all sorts of disturbing assignments. A couple of fantasy sequences in which Giovanna sees herself as Jean D'arc also seem a bit out of place next to the old "eavesdroppers get the wrong impression when they bug her house" routine.
La Poliziotta is effectively up against the whole town. The only likable male is a magistrate who has the hots for her, but in a surprising twist she does not return his affections. The film certainly is a brave attempt to put across a solid feminist message and a far cry from the silly sequels in which Edwige Fenech took over the title role. During the training sequences one might get the impression that Alvaro Vittali is being set up to be a comical sidekick, but this did not occur until the next installment in the series. Unfortunately on a whole all the different ideas don't quite merge together.