In Everybody Wants to Be Italian a young fishmonger (Jay Jablonski) is mistaken for an Italian by a pretty veterinarian (Cerina Vincent), despite the fact that he's Polish. Funny she should think that because--in a bizarre turn of screenwriterly happenstance--Jablonski thinks the Spanish Vincent is ... wait for it ... also Italian.
To his credit, writer-director Jason Todd Ipson thought that was a pretty anemic setup for a film, so he conspired to add a genuinely unique and infinitely more promising plotline on top of the original one. Thrust onto a date with Vincent's character by perturbed employees at the fish shop, Jablonski's heart really belongs to his ex. Problem is she's been his ex for eight years and is now married with three kids.
Basically psychotic in his infatuation, Jablonski convinces Vincent to settle for a strictly platonic relationship, despite what Billy Crystal said about such pairings back in that film with Meg Ryan.
And so you have a kind of parallel-universe rom-com, in which one of the would-be lovers is completely immune to the other, a concept made even more delightfully absurd by the fact that the other is the voluptuous hottie from Cabin Fever.
If Italian rode that idea out, we'd be talking about a minor classic. Instead we're talking about a pleasant but entirely forgettable bit of fluff. Turns out Ipson really does want us to wait for our two leads to hook up, and once his film's true, boring game plan is revealed, Italian turns out to be merely standard genre fare with a couple decent ideas and a refreshing lack of sentimentality.
At 105 minutes, Italian is far too slack, but it radiates a certain low-watt charm--the jokes aren't particularly notable, but at least they keep coming. The movie is basically one long half-grin: It's consistently almost-funny, well-acted and it generally doesn't make you want to pound stakes into your eyes. In a genre that usually does, that's something. I guess.
The Accidental Husband
Remember the totally badass Uma Thurman from Kill Bill? This is the complete friggin' opposite. (Opens Fri., Sept. 5.)
Nicolas Cage should've just stopped at Raising Arizona. (Opens Fri., Sept. 5.)
A drug-addicted nympho dude goes to one of those places that are supposed to pray away the gay. Judith Light cries. (Opens Fri., Sept. 5.)
Vin Diesel is apparently still alive. (Not reviewed.)
Baghead isn't all-out horror, though the final reel boasts some genuinely nail-biting intensity lifted straight out of Blair Witch. Inspired by the ridiculous films they've seen at an independent film festival, four struggling actors head off to a remote cabin to bang out their very own lo-fi masterpiece over the weekend. It doesn't take long for them to realize they have no ideas, and they become increasingly distracted by a person running around outside sporting a paper bag on his head. B (M.P.)
As a young boy Eric Wilson is sent away for the murder of a female classmate. During his trial he was known to the world as Boy A. When he reemerges into society as a young man, he cloaks himself in a new identity as Jack Burridge (Andrew Garfield of Lions for Lambs). With a hangdog face so timid, sweet and nervous, it's hard to believe Burridge could perform such a vile act. B (A.S.)
Now the story of this 1970s West Coast wine victory has become a sort of Sideways sequel--only this time the neuroses of its characters don't overwhelm the inside-baseball shenanigans. Unfortunately, Bottle Shock's sprawling cast has not an interesting personality among them. C- (M.P.)
Chris & Don: A Love Story
The tale of Christopher Isherwood and his longtime partner Don Bachardy is, at heart, a love story. Chris & Don raises a lot of fascinating issues, but pays them only limited attention. Even in documentaries you have to keep the story moving. B (M.P.)
Dude gets dumped. Dude goes to college. Dude gets laid. (Not reviewed.)