Wednesday, June 23, 2010

City Island - ***

It would seem that a movie like City Island shouldn't work. The plot is on par with a CBS sitcom, following a dysfunctional Italian family who take in a paroled inmate who is Dad's illegitimate son, and the screenplay provides plenty of chances for the film to go sour, but somehow it is all reigned in and ends up being pretty charming. It may be an easy premise, but it's full of interesting characters with bizarre secrets, such as Dad taking an acting class in his spare time, working on a cringe-worthy Marlon Brando impression, or Son enjoying internet fetish videos featuring men feeding food to round women, or Mom's crush on Dad's Illegitimate Son. All of these secrets are of course revealed in the final scene of total madness and shouting, and a touch of physical violence (they are, after all, Cinematic City Italians), but no worries... it's resolved with a surprising amount of grace and humor, and quite a bit of heart.

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