13 January 2008 | dbborroughs
Amusing but very stereotypical Italian American wedding saga doesn't work as well as it does live "on stage"
1988 on Long Island. Tony (who's family runs a strip club in Queens) and Tina (who lives with her mom in Massapequa) get married and then go to a run down catering hall for a reception. Its every wedding and Italian American joke you can think of brought to life as two families that never should meet, do so at the wedding of their children. Its nostalgia for those who lived through (and were scarred by) the 1980's, particularly those who did so on Long Island and Queens.
Long running Off Broadway participatory theater hit has been turned into a movie. What you experience in the theater (actually a church and in a restaurant) has been shifted around so that we are experiencing first from the point of Tony and Tina and then from the point of view of the video camera recording the event. What worked live becomes a bit shrill on screen as all of the big over the top characters seem even more cartoonish. These people are everyone of your most stereotypical Italian American stereotypes brought to life. Don't get me wrong, its a funny movie but its really more an R-rated low brow sitcom than a big screen movie. I know much of my enjoyment comes from the nostalgia factor, I was just a bit older than Tony and Tina at the time this movie is set and I knew people who were just like this (and there is a reason that I don't talk to them any more). I like the music,and I'm amused by the hairstyles. I enjoyed the pre-movie advertising cards that set the mood and fill in details of some of our characters (I used to see these sort of things projected on the screen all through the 80's and 90's in theaters and more times than not when I mentioned seeing the ads it shocked the owners of the stores)
Amusing to a point, the jokes play too much into stereotypes and set patterns (clearly the result of the movies participatory origins where you need that sort of thing as a short hand), this is not something I would have been happy paying 10 or 11 bucks to see in a theater (I saw this on IFC in Theaters on cable). I think most people are going to find something to laugh at, but I think mostly this is going to appeal to those who are from Long Island or Queens, especially those who are children of 1980's Long Island or Queens.
Wait for cable 6.5 out of 10