There is a belief that studio comedy is slowly dying out. While only 10 years ago we would be greeted every weekend with a new studio comedy, now they feel far and few in between. The 2023 summer movie season feels like the first in a long time that harkens back to that time with films like No Hard Feelings, lost, MachineAnd Joy Ride all headed for the big screen. Then there is About my fathera new film starring the two-time Academy Award winner and legend of the big screen Robert De Niro beside Sebastian Maniskalco in his first major role. If you’ve never heard of Maniscalco, there’s a good chance the next person you talk to will be one of the biggest names on the stand-up comedy scene.


In the film, Manisscalco plays a fictionalized version of himself who dates the beautiful Ellie (Leslie Bibb). When he is invited to spend the Fourth of July with Ellie’s wealthy and very American family for the Fourth of July, Sebastian reluctantly brings along his father Salvo (de Niro), an unfiltered but loving Italian immigrant hairdresser, in his own unique way. Ellie’s family consists of the matriarch Tigger (Kim Cattrall), a polarizing politician who constantly makes waves on the cable news circuit, his father Bill (David Rashche) who tries to keep a happy face despite constantly worrying about his children, his douchey brother Lucky (Anders Holm) who specializes in aviation, and the hippy socialist Doug (Brett Dier) who spends his time playing with the sound bowl and humming the family’s pet peacock. It’s clear from the start that Ellie and Sebastian come from different walks of life and bringing their families together creates a massive culture clash where secrets are spilled, feathers are ruffled, and peacocks are eaten.

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‘About My Father’ Is A Love Story Between Father and Son

Sebastian Maniscalco and Robert De Niro standing by the bushes in About My Father.
Image via Lionsgate

About my father exactly what you’d expect and also one of the nicest surprises of the year. It fits studio comedies from the early aughts like My Big Fat Greek Wedding And Meet Parents while also having a bit Marriage Destroyer thrown in there too. It would be so easy to have a sense of humor built entirely around one-note stereotypes other than the director Laura Terrusoand co-authors Maniscalco and Earl Austin, do not go that way. There is something so sweet and honest about this film because it is a romantic comedy where the love story is about the bond between father and son. Ellie’s wealthy family isn’t depicted as villains nor is Salvo portrayed as an antagonistic father. Instead, the film establishes from the outset that these two families come from different worlds. The film opens with Manisscalco telling a montage of what it means to be a Silician and reminiscing about his childhood, so when we meet Ellie’s family, Terruso doesn’t antagonize them, but shows them as another world. For example, when we first meet Lucky, he steps out of the family helicopter wearing a flight suit that makes him look like he just stepped off a set. Top Weapon: Maverick.

De Niro’s track record in comedy has reached incredible heights, as mentioned above Meet Parents, This analysisAnd Silver lining manualas well as some dismal lows like Dirty Grandpa And Big wedding. Luckily, de Niro was in tip-top shape playing Salvo, which is directly based on Manisscalco’s real-life father. In a role that feels almost the opposite of Jack Byrnes, de Niro gleefully spits out witty one-liners about being an immigrant, building a Nintendo out of wood, and Che Guevera. He clearly had a lot of fun on set, and he actually felt very natural as the character (probably helping him meet Salvo in real life before and during filming). He plays Salvo like he’s a relative you only see at family reunions living in his own world, talking to you for hours as you sit beside him downing your fourth bottle of beer, not pissed off, but having a good time. . Paired with all of Maniscalco, the two leading men have excellent chemistry, bouncing off each other really well. Leslie Bibb, Kim Cattrall, David Rasche, and Anders Holm all get their time to shine too, but the biggest scene stealer of the supporting cast is Brett Dier as Doug who garners some of the film’s biggest laughs every time he appears on screen.

‘About My Father’ Brings Manisscalco Jokes to the Big Screen

Robert De Niro in About My Father
Image via Lionsgate

Plots from About my father it’s very predictable in nature and not all the jokes land as hard as they could, including a bit about Manisscalco’s fear of flying, but there’s a lot of sincerity that surrounds the film and makes it very easy to fall in love with. The film does feel a little rushed, with a runtime of less than 90 minutes, and it would have been nice to spend more time with the characters, especially since the ending comes as suddenly as some of the character’s dilemmas are resolved. a little too quick and easy.

There aren’t many films out there that you can take the whole family to the theater (outside of a few tent-pole blockbusters, but even so) where everyone will enjoy themselves regardless of age, especially in the world of comedy. , But About my father really feels like it’s from a different, simpler era. It’s never mean (well except maybe towards the peacock) nor is it overly edgy with humor. Both Maniscalco and Laura Terruso said they made the film a love letter to their respective parents, and it shows. It’s definitely not a film struggling to win any major awards but, at the same time, it’s not as popular as some marketing might lead you to believe. Maniscalco has built a huge and dedicated following through his work on stand-up, and with About my fatherhe was finally able to bring his jokes to the big screen in a way that would please his fans but also garner him some new loyal followers as well.

Rating: B

About my father opens in theaters everywhere on May 26.

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