If you enjoy ethnic stereotypes, “Everybody Wants to be Italian” has you covered.
The R-rated romantic comedy has a stodgy old Italian women offering guidance on finding a man (one hint: lots of food), revenge-seeking, hot-blooded brothers and the naive belief that romance will cure all the world’s ills.
If a few laughs at the expense of Nonna from the Old Country isn’t your thing, this film won’t have too much else to offer and will make those of us without any Italian blood in our veins happy that that’s the case.
“Italian” – which includes Buffalo on its current limited release schedule – follows a Boston fishmonger who still buys top-notch jewelry for his girlfriend even though she broke it off with him eight years ago. His employees from the fish shop – who double as his goombas, dispensing 10-cent psychological advice – hook him up with an attractive veterinarian, whom he refuses to consider a “real” doctor (one of several unfunny recurring gags).
This moron hits it off with the vet, but his refusal to let go of the past causes some initial turbulance in his budding romance. Some other stuff happens before the inveitable happy ending, but it doesn’t matter much.
Dig deep and you might find some funny moments, such as when the high school dropout fishmonger lectures a room full of doctors on how to be financially successful. But there’s not nearly enough of this or anything that approaches humor, which is supposed to be the most vital part of a movie like this. It instead relies on well-worn humor about what we supposedly know about the Italian heritage (did you know Italians are pushy? And that they like pasta? This film assumes you don’t).
The film is slow to develop and picks up a bit in the middle, but it does not come close to recovering enough to redeem the entire movie.
All in all, this film movie is the worst thing to happen to Italians since Tony Danza mindlessly shouted “Mrs. Rosini!” each week on “Who’s the Boss?”