‘About My Father’ Evaluation: Robert De Niro in Dad Mode Once more
The slapstick comedian Sebastian Maniscalco first labored with Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s 2019 crime drama “The Irishman.” Maniscalco performed the erratic real-life gangster Joey Gallo; De Niro’s character, Frank Sheeran, kills him within the film. Scorsese has a near-uncanny knack for successfully utilizing skilled funnymen in severe roles — Jerry Lewis in “The King of Comedy” and Don Rickles in “Casino” to quote however two — and Maniscalco acquitted himself effectively in his small half.
The level we’re obliged to get to is that this: Maniscalco has now enlisted De Niro to behave in “About My Father,” a romantic comedy largely derived from the comic’s personal life. How largely? Well, Maniscalco performs a personality named Sebastian Maniscalco. He’s engaged to his very best lady, Ellie (Leslie Bibb, who’s charming right here), and has lastly been invited to her very wealthy household’s Fourth of July weekend. In quick order, Sebastian’s father, Salvo, is invited too. Salvo is an Italian immigrant from Sicily who runs a magnificence salon, has a fierce work ethic, is useless low cost and severely opinionated, and has a number of different traits that make for participating stand-up comedy and cinematic character work.
De Niro is dependable in his comedic mode. Here, along with his hand gestures and the frequent monosyllabic exclamations of exasperation, the actor’s Salvo typically resembles a kinder, gentler model of his Jake LaMotta in “Raging Bull.” The supporting gamers David Rasche and Kim Cattrall as the longer term in-laws present good comedian foils for De Niro.
Alas, in lower than an hour and a half of operating time (the director Laura Terruso does orchestrate the proceedings with a palpable sense of dispatch), the film demonstrates how shortly “amiable and inconsequential” can shift to “hackneyed and labored.” A sickly poultry improvisation gag involving a peacock falls flat, and the pace bump to the blissful ending is correct out of the Hallmark Movie Scriptwriter’s Handbook.
About My Father
In theaters. Rated PG-13 for language, partial nudity, improvised-poultry humor. Running time: 1 hour 29 minutes. In theaters.