Warner Bros./Warner Home Video .
R4 . COLOR . 99 mins .
M15+ . PAL
My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a worldwide success that targeted the Greek community in a delightful way. Mambo Italiano takes a similar path with a couple of minor differences, the lead couple are gay and the target community this time around is Italian. This film may be a poor cousin to its Greek counterpart, but it still offers a few laughs along the way.
Angelo Barberini (Luke Kirby) has known all his life that he is gay. He lives in Canada with his parents Gino (Paul Sirvino) and Maria (Ginette Reno) along with his neurotic sister Anna (Claudia Ferri). Deciding to finally move out of home, a move that is devastating to his family, he hopes to live out his dream of becoming a television writer. When he invites his parents to see his new apartment, the place has been trashed by intruders. The police are called and one of them is Angelo’s school friend Nino Paventi (Peter Miller). The two rekindle their friendship and over a short space become lovers, moving in together. Angelo decides he cannot pretend anymore and comes out to his parents, with further devastating effect.
"Nobody told us there were two United States, the real one – America and the fake one – Canada!"
This, of course, has many consequences. Nino is not ready to come out yet but Angelo’s parents soon tell Nino’s mother. A series of events follow with Nino’s mother, Lina Paventi (Mary Walsh), desperately trying to make her son straight again by fixing him up with a nice Italian girl, in this case Pina Lunetti (Sophie Lorain). The Barberini family are more upset by Angelo’s outburst and criticism of the family than the fact that their son is gay though, so an attempt to convert him back to heterosexuality is thankfully never considered. A snowballing effect of humourous consequences follows.
Doctor.... I keep seeing flowers everywhere.
This film is a lighthearted look at the Italian community and not only their everyday lives but also the dilemma faced when finding out your son is gay. The stereotypical reactions of the parents are the highlight of the film with the veteran actors Paul Sorvino and Ginette Reno giving terrific performances.
The majority of the characters are likeable, but overall there is something slightly lacking. It is hard to pinpoint as the film does offer an entertaining hour and a half, but considering its potential, it seems to be lacking that small something. The subject matter and characters are something that could have offered non stop laughs with a good mix of drama, but for some reason it is slightly disappointing. The laughs are there and scenes such as the parents discussing a wedding invitation are priceless, but there could have been so many more laughs here. Sitting in the same genre as My Big Fat Greek Wedding this is not a bad companion to that, however it is definitely the poorer cousin. Worth a look, but don’t expect it to be as good as a Greek wedding, just an enjoyable little comedy.
Oh my god mate, this shirt matches my sisters wallpaper.
Mambo Italiano is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16:9 enhanced. Overall this is a very clean print offering strong colours and terrific detail. Softness makes an occasional appearance, but this is generally intentional. There are no signs of film artefacts or grain and other nasties such as aliasing and edge enhancement are welcome absentees. Surprisingly, there are no subtitles with this release. The audio is very clear though so this is not a major problem.
There are two audio mixes for this release, a Dolby Digital stereo one and a DD 5.1 mix. There isn’t a lot of difference between the two really and seeing as the film is a dialogue driven one, there is little need for a choice. Dialogue is always clear, as is the supporting music. The rear speakers are used minimally for music ambience, but very little in the way of directional effect. Overall, the sound mixes do the job easily without being spectacular. For a film such as this though, there is no need for a soundtrack that will shake the windows so these two are more than sufficient.
There are a couple of nice extras for this release.
Running for 2:09, this is a nice trailer showing some of the funnier highlights of the film.
Working On Mambo Italiano
This featurette runs for 11:08 and contains a collection of interviews with the cast and crew of the film. It is quite interesting to see some of the actors out of costume, a good demonstration of how well they portrayed their characters.
With a total running time of 7:03, there are three deleted scenes contained here. These are Nino at the Post Office, Contruction Site and Family Catastrophe (Extended Scene).
Running for 2:55, this feature contains all the goofs from the making of the film and is quite amusing.
Overall this is a nice little film that offers a few good laughs. Italians may relate to it better than most, but the viewer by no means needs to be Italian to enjoy it. Although it is a fun film, there is a feeling that so much more could have been done with the material but don’t let that put you off. The picture and audio quality are reasonable and there are a couple of nice extras.