About My Father is a laugh-out-loud hysterical comedy in which a son brings his immigrant hairdresser father to meet his fiancé’s family.
Sebastian (Sebastian Maniscalco) is looking to propose to his girlfriend, Ellie (Leslie Bibb), but finds himself in a dilemma when her family invites her to their summer house. His girlfriend guilts him into going but then he realizes his father, Salvo (Robert De Niro) would be all alone in Chicago. She encourages him to bring him with her. It’s certainly a look at the differences in immigrants–one more recent than a family who descends directly from Pilgrims arriving on the Mayflower. Forget Meet the Parents–this is meet the Collins family (Kim Cattrall, Anders Holm, Brett Dier, David Rasche) and all the quirks that come with it! Both Sebastian and Salvo already know that they’re not going to fit in but they both make an effort in their own way. When one’s potential in-laws include a hotel chain owner and U.S. Senator, there is not much of a choice.
Sebastian wants to use his grandmother’s ring in proposing but it comes with a catch. The catch being that Salvo meets the family that his son is joining. It’s nonstop laughs from there. I haven’t watched the trailer but my guess is that they’re hiding a lot of laughs from audiences. If you’re like me, you’ll be laughing very frequently throughout the film. I’m not saying it’s a mile a minute but man, it’s pretty close! Listen, I could talk about the differences between their families but there’s no point in doing so. It’s one of the joys that comes in watching this laugh riot. There’s an Italian Get Out joke that had me howling. This is a very tightly-paced comedy that knows what it is doing.
At the end of the day though, this film is about family. What makes those families unique are their differences, of course. Can Sebastian go through with the proposal if he doesn’t get his father’s support? That’s why you have to watch the film for yourself. The comedian draws on his own life experiences in approaching the project. Aside from the culture clashes between families, much of the film is completely fictional–including the arguments that were made for this movie.
The film is also a reminder of just how much fun Robert De Niro is in comedies. We don’t get enough of them or it certainly seems like that of late. Sure, people know him for his Scorsese work but he’s so damn funny both the Meet the Parents and Analyze This franchises. De Niro’s Salvo is in very different position than De Niro’s Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents. And again, the film just makes amazing use of his comedic skills. When Robert De Niro is on, he is on! Interestingly enough, director Laura Terruso is now the fourth woman to direct De Niro in his motion picture career.
If you need the laughs, you cannot go wrong with About My Father.
DIRECTOR: Laura Terruso
SCREENWRITERS: Austen Earl & Sebastian Maniscalco
CAST: Sebastian Maniscalco, Robert De Niro, Leslie Bibb, Anders Holm, David Rasche, Brett Dier, and Kim Cattrall
Lionsgate will release About My Father in theaters on May 26, 2023. Grade: 4/5
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