De Niro reunites with ‘meeting parents’ act in unfunny ‘About My Father’


If we were to revive the boring story of a young couple having to meet their partner’s parents and scouring around for someone to play their future father-in-law grumpy and grumpy, definitely not one name should pop out. Robert De Niro.

Yes, he’s a hysterical, intense, serious, overprotective father that would make any suitor roll their eyes. Yes, he is good at playing roles with a straight face. We know it because he’s been to great effect in the ‘Meet the Parents’ series. Many times.

Yet About My Father has the revered Oscar-winner sloppily reprising the role in a consistently uninteresting rom-com, so if he’s got a deadpan glow. You will get a distinct sense that if you hadn’t rented it, it might not have been released to theaters at all.

Co-written and starring comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, this bombastic Italian-American kissing scene not only leans into the stereotype of working-class Italians on one side and WASPs on the other, but it also shows the It’s a story about a family plowing a field.

Maniscalco plays a Chicago hotel manager who falls in love with a country-club-bred artist (played by the ever-smiling Leslie Bibb), and they both have lessons to learn about blood pressure. “Family is not one thing, it is everything” is the motto of the Maniscalco clan. In 1972, that would have been a powerful message.

Maniscalco’s childhood was built on frugality thanks to his father, Salvo, played by De Niro. Salvo came to Chicago from Sicily in search of a better life, with a harsh work ethic and a tip about wealth. He didn’t buy his son a skateboard for Christmas, he built a junky skateboard. Why does he love Independence Day? “Today is the only holiday where you don’t have to buy presents.”

On the other side is the Collins family who went to America on the Mayflower. Her mother (Kim Cattrall) is a U.S. Senator and her father (David Rush) is the CEO of a luxury hotel group. They live on a gated property in Maryland with peacocks roaming. “You should see the Aspen house,” says her mother.

The story begins with a Fourth of July holiday meeting when Maniscalco’s father and son visit his girlfriend’s family and nagging each other. Is Salvo too kind? Is he trying hard enough? Is he trying to sabotage his son’s happiness? Is his son pretending to be someone he isn’t? Can pasta and parmesan solve all this? Marone!

The culture clash quickly rages on, mostly ridiculing WASPs who drink kombucha, wear monogrammed pajamas and play tennis. (For those still awake, there’s also Grandma Moses Art Her Jokes. Grandma Moses jokes are rare.) The Maniscalcos family has its own quirks, like spraying cologne at every moment. I have. The filmmakers (directed by Laura Terluzo from a script by Maniscalco and Austin Earle) have a meatball to frame all of this as a story of immigration.

About My Father (2023) Official Trailer – Sebastian Maniscalco, Robert De Niro, Leslie BibbAbout My Father (2023) Official Trailer – Sebastian Maniscalco, Robert De Niro, Leslie Bibb

For those who missed “Meet the Parents,” there’s even a virtually unbanned scene, as if viewers were expecting to be dazed. The pool volleyball scene in the 2000 film (where Ben Stiller is so competitive that he spikes his girlfriend’s sister so painfully) is comparable to Maniscalco driving a tennis ball hard into his girlfriend’s brother’s torso. .

About My Father isn’t the only comedy vying for 2023’s guess who’s coming to dinner. The year kicked off with her Netflix’s You People starring Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy, and that movie fixed the problem, even if it had its flaws. with race. “About My Father” should be about white people, about class and privilege, but it’s not. It’s about embarrassment and strips you of potential depth.

This rom-com turns into a rom-com where the target is the dad and things get stagnant and weird at the end. There’s even a scene where he runs to the airport when a dime falls on Salvo’s son. But we should have known long before that this was a cash robbery.


What do you think?

Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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