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Everybody Wants to be Italian

It’s a shame this comedy wasn’t in release a few months ago—how perfect would it have looked on the marquee at the North Park during the Italian festival! Don’t look for it there, though—even though this is the kind of independent comedy about the pleasures of ethnic identity that does great business audiences at arthouse theaters (i.e., My Big Fat Greek Wedding; The Bread, My Sweet), Everybody Wants to be Italian is getting a wide release. Presumably someone in Hollywood noticed that those other movies made money, as do so many movies about the about the Italian-American experience, from Moonstruck to Goodfellas. Based on the experiences of writer-director Jason Todd Ipson, Everybody is a romance between Jake Bianski (Jay Jablonski). Polish-American proprietor of a fish store in Boston’s largely Italian North End, and veterinarian Marisa Costa (Cerina Vincent), of Spanish descent. For reasons that aren’t entirely plausible, these two single people come to believe that the other is not only of Italian heritage but only willing to date someone who is also Italian. They are pushed along in this direction by the requisite adorable oldsters, including Richard Libertini as a codger who claims that Italy was never part of the Axis and says things like “It’s all fun and games, until someone loses a testicle!” The plot is never terribly plausible, particularly Jake’s absurd devotion to the ex-girlfriend who not only married the guy she left him for but now has three kids with him. And you can see the road bumps in this relationship coming a mile away (he just wants to be friends, while her biological clock is ticking). But despite the shaky setup, the characters do grow on you after while. There’s an audience for this kind of movie, and while it’s unlikely to be anyone’s favorite in the genre it’s a pleasant enough excuse for an evening’s entertainment.

m. faust

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