Run time: 99 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 9th October 2003
Box Office USA: $6.2M
Box Office Worldwide: $3M
Distributed by: Samuel Goldwyn Company
Production compaines: icon
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 49
IMDB: 6.8 / 10
Director: Émile Gaudreault
Screenwriter: Steve Galluccio, Émile Gaudreault
Starring: Luke Kirby as Angelo Barberini, Ginette Reno as Maria Barberini, Paul Sorvino as Gino Barberini, Mary Walsh as Lina Paventi, Peter Miller as Nino Paventi, Claudia Ferri as Anna Barberini, Sophie Lorain as Pina Lunetti, Tim Post as Peter, Tara Nicodemo as Yolanda/Woman in Airplane/Jolene, Pierrette Robitaille as Rosetta, Dino Tavarone as Giorgio, Mark Camacho as Johnny Christofaro, Michel Perron as Father Carmignani, Lou Vani as Marco, Diane Lavallée as Mélanie
Still with me? Good. Now you're fully equipped to grasp the dramatic tension of this comedic enterprise from EdTV writer Émile Gaudreault. If you're getting the sense that this is a flimsy flick, you're right on target. This movie falls into the classic trap of reducing the depth and complexity of one culture to its lowest common denominator in an effort to liberate another culture from stereotype.
With all that said, Mambo Italiano is still a funny, charming movie. Most notable among the cast is Paul Sorvino, who lends Mambo all of its Italian credibility as Angelo's father, Gino. Luke Kirby, affable and animated, plays Angelo with a convincing, amusing vulnerability that makes him interesting from the start. Claudia Ferri, as Angelo's neurotic sister, Anna, gets a slow start in the script, but shines more brightly than anyone by the film's end.
Set design plays a major role in Mambo, with ostentatious 1970s shag décor rendering every scene as if it had been cut from an episode of The Brady Bunch. This playful motif lends the entire film a kitschy atmosphere that keeps the comedy rolling through every slapstick scene.
Even as the dialogue reduces most of the characters to simple, flat cartoons, much of the argumentative banter is surprising and funny, playing the tensions of homophobia and family pride off of one another in creative, interesting ways, until finally, gayness and Italian-ness can coexist peacefully.
Shock to the system.