New Jersey, the late '50s: Italian immigrants Primo and Secondo Pilaggi (Shalhoub and Tucci) are struggling to make a go of their restaurant, The Paradise. While Primo is a master chef with a near-mystical faith in the traditional food of the old country - too subtle for the locals, who'd rather dine down the street at the glitzy Americanised eatery owned by the flamboyant Pascal (Holm) - Secondo tactfully suggests his older brother offer a few compromises on the menu before the bank forecloses. Ironically, potential salvation comes from Pascal, who promises that, as a publicity stunt, he'll get his friend, the crooner Louis Prima, to visit The Paradise. It's their last chance, and the brothers prepare a banquet no one will ever forget. Directed by actors Tucci and Scott, and written by Tucci with his cousin Joseph Tropiano, this beautifully acted film is a modest but big-hearted delight. Focusing firmly on mood, character and situation, it finds time not only for a generous, balanced appraisal of the brothers' relationship, but for a wealth of other deftly drawn personalities. Much is made of the big night and its preparation, with mouth-watering results, but it's the long, final shot of an omelette being cooked and eaten that best characterises the film's prime virtues: simple, unpretentious, to the point, and warmly human.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Stanley Tucci, Campbell Scott|
|Screenwriter:||Joseph Tropiano, Stanley Tucci|