‘About My Father’: Sweet family comedy, seasoned with broad yuks

(2 stars)

Comedian and actor Sebastian Maniscalco (just lately seen in Ray Romano’s directorial debut, the family-themed dramedy “Somewhere in Queens,” because the brother of Romano’s character) has referred to the topic of his personal Sicilian-immigrant father as a “gold mine” for his stand-up act, which will be fairly humorous. With Maniscalco’s function writing debut — the genial family comedy “About My Father” — the performer returns to that mom lode, taking part in a model of himself, additionally named Sebastian Maniscalco, with Robert De Niro as his Sicilian-immigrant father, Salvo.

If he doesn’t come up with comedy gold, precisely, it’s not for lack of attempting.

This a candy, principally cute story in regards to the significance of the folks we’re associated to, peppered with some pretty broad and never particularly hilarious yuks. Set throughout a Fourth of July weekend, on the Virginia mansion the place Sebastian’s girlfriend Ellie (Leslie Bibb) spent childhood summers with her patrician family, whose roots return to the Mayflower, “Father” is a fish-out-of-water story by which the Chicago-based Sebastian is assembly Ellie’s rich family for the primary time, with Salvo in tow.

Cue the tradition conflict — which by no means totally units in. Would you accept just a few foolish mishaps as a substitute?

Right off the bat, Sebastian has a panic assault, or airsickness, or one thing, within the helicopter that Ellie’s ne’er-do-well brother Lucky (Anders Holm) has dropped at the airport to select them up in. Then, whereas Sebastian is jet-booting off the family yacht, his Versace swim trunks fall down in entrance of everybody. Later, whereas attempting to thank his hosts (Kim Cattrall and David Rasche) for his or her hospitality, Salvo whips up a fast pasta dish utilizing the family’s pet peacock as protein. (No spoiler alerts right here: These final two are each featured prominently within the trailer. Presumably, they’re the perfect gags within the movie.)

To be trustworthy, it appears like Maniscalco is wielding the pickax a bit of too closely to come back up with nuggets for a narrative that’s at its finest when it simply kicks again and observes the little oddities of life. Lucky is a strolling cliché, as an example: Dressed in a caricature of nautical prep stylish, he insists on calling Sebastian “Sea Bass,” like a distant cousin of Alex Moffat’s Guy Who Just Bought a Boat character on “Saturday Night Live.”

The different brother, Doug (Brett Dier), is extra fascinating and sudden: a New Age-y weirdo who performs sound bowls and doesn’t hesitate to level out, when the family treats Sebastian and Salvo to lunch on the membership, that the constructing was constructed by enslaved folks. More Doug, and fewer of Sebastian’s ding-dong, might need been an enchancment right here.

But Doug is there to attain one other level that “Father” makes, finally with magnificence and sincerity, though it’s not an particularly unique one. (“Somewhere in Queens” made it higher, actually.) It is a truism, nonetheless, and heartfelt: Family will be embarrassing. And but family is not only probably the most necessary issues in life — it’s all the pieces.

PG-13. At space theaters. Contains suggestive materials, sturdy language and partial nudity. 89 minutes.

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