ABOUT MY FATHER – A Review by Cynthia Flores
First, off full disclosure, I’m a huge Sebastian Maniscalco fan. I’ve seen almost all his standard comedy routines. I’ve seen him pay his dues in small parts in big movies. So I was thrilled when I heard about him doing this film, About My Father, which is very much based on his standup comedy, which is based on his real life. So many of the situations shown in the movie were actually talked about on stage during his sets. He really does have a hardcore Italian immigrant dad. The big win here is that he got the one and only Robert “frickin” De Niro to play his father.
The storyline for About My Father is this. When Sebastian (Sebastian Maniscalco) tells his old-school proud Italian immigrant father, Salvo (Robert De Niro), that he is planning to propose to his long-time, blue-blooded, comes-from-old money girlfriend Ellie (Leslie Bibb), Salvo insists that he must meet the girl’s family before he gives his son his grandmother’s wedding ring, to see if they are good enough for his son.
It so happens that the young couple has been invited to her family’s summer house for the Fourth of July weekend. Since Salvo is widowed and would miss being with his son over the holiday, he agrees to go with them. That is where the fun begins.
Salvo is a fish out of water in the lavish lifestyle of Ellie’s family. Her mother, Tigger (Kim Cattrall), is a US Senator, and her husband, Bill (David Rasche), is a hotel mogul. They both like Sabastian. So does her hippie younger brother Doug (Brett Dier). The trouble is with her playboy good-for-nothing brother Lucky (Anders Holm), who embraces all the perks of growing up filthy rich. His idea of fun is to tease and torture Sabastian as much as possible. The film follows everyone on this eventful holiday weekend as these two miss-matched families try to get along.
The film itself really gets the audience laughing. And the director was smart by keeping the movie to a slim trim hour and twenty-nine-minute running time. It kept the story from adding any fluff to make it longer. But, unfortunately, there are times, in its leanness, the characters don’t get to flesh out their emotions as much as they could have. They have Robert De Nero and Kim Cattrall in the cast. So they have the chops to go deep. But the director decided to stay with the comedy and delivered on that point. It just would have been a better film if they had taken the time to add more heart and depth to the story instead of keeping it at a sitcom level of emotions.
I give About My Father 3.7 stars. You’ll get it if you’re a hardcore Sebastian Maniscalco fan. If you aren’t, then as Sebastian might say in his exaggerated Italian tough guy accent., “Just keep walking. I hear the Little Mermaid is playing in the theater next door. That might be more your speed.”
Directed by: Laura Terruso
Written by: Austen Earl, Sebastian Maniscalco
Selig Rating: 3.7 Stars
Running Time: 1 hr 29 min
Wide Theatrical Release: May 26th
Starring: Robert De Niro, Leslie Bibb, Kim Cattrall, Sebastian Maniscalco
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well, there was nothing else…
1 Star – Total waste of time.