By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco's
new movie "About My Father"
which he co-wrote, executive produced and stars in, is loosely based on his relationship with his dad Salvo, who is played by Robert De Niro
("Killers of the Flower Moon" and upcoming "Tin Soldier").
If Maniscalco's real father is half as zany as De Niro is in "About My Father," then this guy had some kind of upbringing.
Directed by Laura Terruso, (TV's Dickinson"), "About My Father" is a good, old, fashioned, silly comedy that benefits largely from its quirky cast.
Maniscalco plays Sebastian and he works in the hotel industry. His father, Salvo (De Niro) is a hard-working hairdresser and proud of it. He immigrated from Sicily and made an honest living for his family. His wife is deceased and now Salvo enjoys spending time with his son. Salvo isn't a warm and overly affectionate guy. Still, there's nothing he wouldn't do for Sebastian.
However, when Sebastian tells his dad that he's met the girl of his dreams, Ellie (Leslie Bibb, TV's "Palm Royale") and wants to marry her, Salvo's happy, but also worried. Sebastian wants to give Ellie his grandmother's wedding ring. From everything that Sebastian has told Salvo about Ellie, it seems he may be out of his league. Salvo insists that before anything happens and he gives his blessing, he wants to meet Ellie's family.
Sebastian isn't embarrassed by his father. Well, maybe a little bit because he's very unfiltered and opinionated. Besides, Salvo's brashness might not sit too well with Ellie's extremely, wealthy family.
Although Sebastian is reluctant to have his father meet the parents, Ellie thinks it will be great to spend time at her family's palatial estate in Virginia for the Fourth of July weekend. When Sebastian and Salvo arrive, they are greeted by Ellie's mom Tigger (a funny Kim Cattrall, "How I Met your Father") and her father Bill David Rasche, TV's "Succession").
De Niro can't believe how rich this family is or how Sebastian managed to find his way into it and snag Ellie. He already sees problems developing with Ellie's pompous brother Lucky (a silly Anders Holm, TV's "Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.") who spends his time golfing, flying his personal helicopter and just being a rich show off. Don't get Salvo started on Ellie's brother Doug (Brett Dier, TV's "Platonic"). This guy meditates with sound bowls and plays the recorder for their pet peacocks.
Ellie's parents do their best to make Salvo and Sebastian comfortable, but Salvo just can't seem to fit in. There's a funny scene when they're all at the Country Club getting ready to order lunch and Salvo can't understand why the prices aren't on the menu. He gets into a back and forth with Bill who offers to pay for everyone's meal, but Salvo keeps pressing the issue.
Meanwhile, Sebastian continues to do everything he can to endear himself to Ellie and her family. That "revealing" Flyboard ride wasn’t his best moment.
Over time, Salvo realizes just how much Ellie means to Sebastian. The movie takes an even funnier turn when Salvo gives in and goes along to get along. His actions even surprise Sebastian.
Thanks to Doug, Salvo gets in touch with his "sensitive side" and even unveils his culinary skills for the family. He prepares them a pasta dinner with a smattering of peacock tossed in. Apparently, it tastes just like chicken.
De Niro, whose comedies include: "Meet the Parents," "Analyze This," and "Silver Linings Playbook," delivers the funny again and can add the family friendly "About My Father" to his list.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 5:17 p.m. and 6:47 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Look At This Trailer For "ABOUT MY FATHER"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.