20 May 2016 | Ed-Shullivan
A reflective view of Mr. Joe's past life and sins and his eventual acceptance of the current values of New Yorker's
Please ignore the bad reviews noted because the film lacked action and a mobster mentality. The film's theme is noted as a DRAMA/COMEDY and not as an CRIME/ACTION film. You negative reviewers please pay more attention and next time first read on IMDb what a films theme and story line are before jumping to conclusions. There is a vast difference between what a viewer expects to see, and what a film intends to deliver.
I for one enjoyed the film greatly and I was especially enthralled with Paul Sorvino's evolving emotions and heart warming scenes (and there were many) between Paul Sorvino, Michael Rapaport and Renee Props.
Paul Sorvino plays Joe Scoleri (he his called "Mr. Joe" to the neighborhood he has always lived in and is well respected) an ex-con who has just been released from a 20 plus year prison term for racketeering and attempted murder. Joe has one daughter Rita (played warmly by actress Renee Props) who makes sure that her father re-adjusts to life outside of the prison walls by spending lots of time with him. The fact of the matter is that Joe received an early release from prison due to his poor health and a very weak heart so his daughter Rita wants to make sure her father eats healthy and avoids any stress from his previous criminal way of life.
Mr. Joe's neighbour is a middle aged man named Bobby DiBianco (played superbly by Michael Rapaport) who has a wife and a pre-teen daughter. Bobby grew up in the house next door to Mr. Joe where Bobby's father owned a local bakery in Queens, New York. Now Bobby's parents have retired and moved to the sunny south of the state of Florida and handed over the family home and their bakery business that they worked their entire life to their son Bobby who shares his parents values, of working hard and respecting his elders.
This is most likely where I differ from the other reviewers who were expecting to see a mobster film. The story line is focused on how this ex-convict with a bad heart Joe Scoleri, is being closely monitored by his parole officer (played by Steven Bauer) named Ramirez weekly home visits where he is humiliated into peeing into a bottle for a sample of his urine to make sure he is drug free and where two FBI agents are speaking to everyone in the neighborhood with a view to making an imminent arrest when Mr. Joe makes his first foray into his past criminal activities.
Gradually we see how the influence of Joe's daughter Rita's chosen lifestyle and live-in companion, and Joe's neighbor who was a young man when Joe was first imprisoned affect his own mindset of past generations of the Italian values and most importantly, that respect and understanding are earned and not given for past reputations.
To some the film's ending may seem abrupt and leaving the viewer wanting more, but to me, it was a well written ending and deserving of a dramatic film with heart and lessons learned in real life situations. My only disappointment with the film was that one of my all time favorite actors, Chazz Palminteri, only had a cameo appearance playing Joe Scoleris' long time lawyer and friend who advises Joe that the world has changed and he has to get over his past way of life and enjoy the little time he has left (with his adult daughter Rita) on this planet due to his poor health.
It is a good drama and Paul Sorvino's acting is always worth watching. This film is no exception. I give the film an 8 out of 10 rating.