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Penelope Cruz dons mustache to play Super Mario in ad

Nintendo is appealing to those with refined artistic taste by featuring the Oscar-winning actress in a new ad.

Nintendo UK/YouTube Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It seems as if Nintendo has been around since Pac-Man and Scrabble were invented.

And yet the company continues to encourage people to spend hours and days in beautifully mindless pursuits. The pursuit of coins, for example, as in Super Mario Bros. 2. I wonder if they enjoy it on Wall Street.

To stimulate your feelings about the Nintendo 3DS and the new 3DS XL (90 percent bigger screen!), the company has hired Penelope Cruz and her sister Monica.

Can you imagine these two sitting by some Italian pool and whipping out their little play machines?

You don't have to, as this new ad does it for you.

Naturally, there is a competitive aspect to their game. Whoever loses has to play dress-up.

It is Penelope who suffers defeat. And given that they were playing the new Super Mario Bros. 2, complete with coin-chasing, there can only be one forfeit: she has to dress up as Super Mario and go buy some mushrooms in an Italian market.

This doesn't quite reach the heights of "Vicki Cristina Barcelona," but it's close.

Cruz has had good practice with her Italian recently. She delightfully delivered the persona of a prostitute -- who knew more about business than any industrialist -- in the latest Woody Allen movie "To Rome With Love."

However, here she resorts mostly to mere Italian-accented English.

Somehow, I imagine Super Mario as a little pudgier than the Cruz version.

However, who would not imagine that some enterprising Hollywood producer has already contacted her agent with a view to her starring in a new movie called "Super Mario and the Kingdom of the Crystal Mushroom"?