The hottest comic in America, Sebastian Maniscalco joins forces with legendary Italian-American and two-time Oscar winner, Robert De Niro, in the new comedy ABOUT MY FATHER. The film centers around Sebastian (Maniscalco) who is encouraged by his fiancée (Leslie Bibb) to bring his immigrant, hairdresser father, Salvo (De Niro), to a weekend get-together with her super-rich and exceedingly eccentric family (Kim Cattrall, Anders Holm, Brett Dier, David Rasche). The weekend develops into what can only be described as a culture clash, leaving Sebastian and Salvo to discover that the great thing about family is everything about family.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
I’ve been a Sebastian Maniscalco fan for years. I’ve enjoyed his stand-up comedy and was hoping to enjoy this film which co-stars Robert De Niro who he worked with on The Irishman. De Niro is one of the few dramatic actors who can consistently do comedies pretty well so my hopes were pretty high for it. Unfortunately it never quite gets to where it needs to go. It’s not a bad film, but I can 100% expect to have forgotten all about it by the end of the year.
The overall story is about Sebastian bringing his father to meet his girlfriend’s family for the first time spending the Fourth of July at their elite estate. Sebastian is an everyday working type guy with De Niro as his Italian immigrant father who cuts hair. Leslie Bibb is the girlfriend who Sebastian wants to propose to. The comedy comes from the Mayflower elite family butting heads with Sebastian and De Niro’s more grounded personas.
I think the biggest issue with the film is that all the side characters and side stories never really seem to pay off. Bibb’s character has two brothers who you are introduced to. The one (Anders Holm) could have been the antagonist of the film sort of like Bradley Cooper in Wedding Crashers. The other brother is a free spirit who’s sort of like the other brother in Wedding Crashers. Unfortunately they don’t spend enough time with these characters for them to truly serve a purpose. Holm’s character is introduced on a helicopter and then comes and goes with no real purpose. The other brother fades in and out as well.
David Rasche and Kim Cattrall play Bibb’s parents who Maniscalco really wants to impress. Cattrall might steal the film getting some of the bigger laughs in it. They are very WASP-y and very much capture that Mayflower elite lifestyle. Bibb is solid as usual and I’ve always kind of had a thing for her. These types of roles are cake walks for her as she looks the part and gets laughs.
You won’t confuse Maniscalco for the next stand-up turned leading man, but since it’s based on his real life the movie is quite believable. He has good chemistry with De Niro who brings Italian authenticity to Salvo. If more time was spent on the heart of the film, their love for each other, it might have been better. It wanders too much in side stories with other characters that it loses focus on where it wants to go.
We’ve seen a slew of movies based on comedian’s real lives of late like The Big Sick and Easter Sunday and About My Father is just another one. It’s watchable, but completely forgettable. If the film focused more it would be better. There was enough there to be similar to Wedding Crashers’ family get together scenes, but ultimately it just doesn’t get the job done.
Sebastian Maniscalco, Robert De Niro, Leslie Bibb, Anders Holm, David Rasche, Brett Dier, and Kim Cattrall
Austen Earl & Sebastian Maniscalco
Andrew Miano, p.g.a., Paul Weitz, p.g.a., Chris Weitz, p.g.a., Judi Marmel
Official Site: https://www.aboutmyfather.movie/