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:: Mambo Italiano

If you liked My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and the producers of this film are clearly banking on the fact that you did, then you’ll probably like Mambo Italiano. If, on the other hand, you thought Greek Wedding was a plotless, forced recycling of age-old cultural stereotypes with an uncharismatic cast and pedestrian direction, then that pretty much ensures you’ll think the same of this film.

The recipe is simple. Take My Big Fat Greek Wedding and replace Greek girl with Italian boy. Then replace Anglo man love interest with another Italian boy; season generously with screaming family members and a community that remains insulated in America, or in this case, Canada. Top it off with some garlic jokes and you have cooked up Mambo Italiano. They both began as plays, and this is evident in some witty one liners from writer Steve Gallucio, and then became films. Hopefully, this one will not turn into a short-lived television series. It doesn’t have the legs, and Queer As Folk, (the UK version please), has already done it so much better.

Luke Kirby plays Angelo, a young Italian boy who is suffering a fate worse than death - he’s gay. He cannot tell his parents but when he meets the love of his life, a firmly in the closet policeman, he wants everyone to share his happiness. That’s a big mistake as his family and relationships disintegrate as a result. Paul Sorvino does what he can in a stereotyped role as Angelo’s father and the film’s most touching scenes are with his wife, Maria, played by Ginette Reno.

The set design and costumes are flamboyant, sometimes a little gratingly so, whilst the direction lacks any real vision. This would probably have been better as a play where the creakingly predictable plot may have been less noticeable.