Mambo Italiano


Directed by: Emile Gaudreault
Written by:Emile Gaudreault
Starring: Luke Kirby, Paul Sorvino, Ginette Reno, Claudia Ferri, Peter Miller, Mary Walsh
Released: October 23, 2003
Grade: B

The poster for Mambo Italiano describes it best when it says “it’s bigger… it’s fatter… it’s not Greek.”  The film is based on an actual play but you could easily think (wrongly of course) that it’s a quirky Italian rip-off of last year’s mega success story My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  I’m sure Italians will be flocking to see a stereotypical film based on their lives but whether it reaches an audience beyond this remains to be seen.

Angelo Barberini (Kirby) lives in an oppressive household with his father Gino (Sorvino), his mother Maria (Reno) and younger sister Anna (Ferri).  He always wanted to be a television writer but so as not to bring shame to the family, he now works reluctantly has a travel agent.  Now at the age of 27, the time has come for Angelo for move out of home.  His parents are horrified by this thought but that’s soon to become the least of the family’s worried.

Angelo’s about to come out of the closet and reveal that he’s moved in with his gay lover, Nino (Miller).  This means that for Gino and Maria, there’ll be no wedding, no grandkids, and just the scorned looks from the others living in this American-Italian community.

This ain’t meant to be too serious so writer/director Emile Gaudreault has tells this story with light comedy.  With plenty of jokes about the Italians and a few more about homosexuals there should be enough to please any minority group.  As to whether it makes the distance as a full length motion picture, I do not know.  You can see clearly that the screenplay has come from a play and I could a live performance of this script being more entertaining than watching the on-screen version.

The cast and crew have made it as fun as possible with legendary actor Paul Sorvino (Romeo & Juliet) lending his expert services to this low-budget production.  It cost just $4,000,000 and has already recovered its small costs since being released in the States last month.  Not too shabby.  I didn’t recognise any other of the cast members but was impressed with Luke Kirby and Claudia Ferri as the brother and sister.  Together, they share some nice scenes.

So yes, if you enjoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding, chances are you’ll fall for this cute comedy too.