19 March 2010

City Island

Written & Directed by: Raymond De Felitta
Full credits at IMDb

There's a lot in City Island to roll your eyes about, so much that it's a cinema miracle the movie should be so ultimately likable. For starters, it's packed with crazy plot contrivances and supporting characters straight out of creative writing class assignments—people to talk to, full of wisdom, to serve as catalysts to revelation. Writer-director De Felitta conspicuously admires Woody Allen, even borrowing (crassly) Manhattan's 59th St. Bridge moneyshot. But it's his stated appreciation for James L. Brooks that shows through: the movie's facility, and silly musical cues, come more from classic television than Hannah and Her Sisters. And yet, the movie sports a low-rent loveliness. City Island is this generation's Moonstruck, minus all the Academy Awards I'm sure, with its Italian-American ethnic caricatures and, most of all, its expert comic performances, which successfully walk that fine line between exaggerated and over-the-top. 

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