Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Mambo Italiano

Published on: March 23rd, 2004

MAMBO ITALIANO

5/10

Canada 2003 : Emile GAUDREAULT : 90 mins

Crap, cheesy title – but it fits. Amiable if very lightweight Canadian-Italians-in-Montreal gay comedy. Heightened production design: dayglo decor. Brightly coloured, upbeat, energetic air. Bright, bouncy music. A little OTT at times (cf La Spagnola). Paul Sorvino delivers OK shtick as stern-but-soft-really Italian papa. Affectionate caricatures abound: two-dimensional characters. Broad stuff, a couple of decent jokes in there. If audiences come, they will laugh – but nothing here to draw in viewers beyond target-market. Based on a play, and it shows: events recounted via hero’s phone-call to listener on ‘Gayline’, then after exposition is conveyed in series of ‘confessionals’. Parents’ houses are kitsch prisons: delirious decor. Hero gets hunky-but-shallow boyfriend who may or may not be gay. Film pretty much succeeds within own very limited ambitions. TV sitcom stuff: 3-act comedy (moments of farce) – very undemanding. Unimaginative direction: results in formulaic gay-themed comedy with mild Big Fat Greek Wedding ethnic twist. Increasingly predictable (inevitable church finale, wrapped up with ‘I Will Survive’). Goes downhill in third act: feel of overextended short or pilot for sitcom. Too long even at 90 minutes, despite heart being unquestionably in the right place.

27th April, 2004
(seen 23rd January : Cineworld, Milton Keynes CinemaDays event)

by Neil Young