Those who just couldn't get enough of My Big Fat Greek Wedding should try Mambo Italiano, which shifts the setting to Montreal's Little Italy and adds a gay twist but otherwise pursues love and understanding with the same dogged -- oops, I mean comic -- determination. Once again, the ethnic stereotypes are as broad as a barn, which suggests that the movie can't miss. Alas, it often does, but I wouldn't say I regretted spending time with la familia.
Meet the Barberinis: Angelo (Luke Kirby), the prodigal son, and by "prodigal" I mean gay; Gino (Paul Sorvino) and Maria (Ginette Reno), the parents, and by "parents" I mean prosciutto-flavored worrywarts who can't believe Angelo moved out of the house, since he's neither getting married nor dead; and Anna (Claudia Ferri), Angelo's sister, a pill-popping, therapist-devouring nutcase who, if this were a sitcom, would get her own spin-off called "Anna's Bananas."
It is a sitcom, of course, just as My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a sitcom even before it was a sitcom. But Mambo Italiano aspires to a higher branch of the sitcom tree -- the joke-a-second, glorified-cartoon, frantic antics of, say, "Scrubs" and "Malcolm in the Middle." Director Emile Gaudreault doesn't really have the technique to pull off this approach, and the script, which he co-wrote with Steve Galluccio, is a little lame. But then those ethnic stereotypes kick in....
When Angelo announces that he's living with Nino (Peter Miller), a childhood friend who's now a hunky cop, the Barberinis slap one another up the side of the head so often you worry about brain damage. But it's not long before Gino, the patriarch, is shouting with newfound pride, "Nobody is gayer than my son." It's all so touching, so amusing and so 20 years ago. Coming out of the closet isn't the burning issue for gays these days; legalizing that big fat wedding is.