My Big Gay Italian Wedding
Diego Abatantuono, Monica Guerritore, Salvatore Esposito, Christiano Caccamo
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…a fun light-hearted movie with its heart in the right place…
A feelgood slapstick comedy exploring differing attitudes to love and sexuality, this entertaining movie is based on a long-running off-Broadway play. Fun, fast and frenetic, the pace never lets up and the frivolous nature of the piece keeps things firmly on the lighter side.
Paolo (Salvatore Esposito) and Antonio (Christiano Caccamo) are living a comfortable life together in the metropolitan city of Berlin. Paolo proposes and the two, along with their oddly matched flatmates, a wealthy actress and a depressed cross dressing bus driver, head across to Antonio’s family village in central Italy.
As well as introducing his parents to his partner, his flatmates and the fact that he’s gay, Antonio has to convince them that the wedding will take place in the village. His stern father (Diego Abatantuono) happens to be the village mayor, and despite showing a progressive position towards immigration and the refugee crisis, is not so forthcoming when it comes to gay marriage.
Antonio’s mum is more reasonable, and sets about making it her mission to bring about a successful, and fantastically extravagant wedding. She even hires a wedding planner from a popular TV reality show to help with the finer points. She does, however, insist that Paolo’s own mother attends the wedding ceremony.
Paolo has much difficulty with this, as he has been to all intents and purposes disowned. He enlists the help of his fiancee and their friends to convince his mum of the importance of her being there.
In the midst of all this, their depressed flatmate is questioning life itself and everything around him. This strikes the wrong chord most of the time, and is a bit of a dud in the laughter stakes. Laughing at a depressed transvestite experiencing a mid-life crisis is at odds with the spirit of the rest of the film. His communications with the other overdramatic flatmate are also oddly constructed and seem tagged on in a half-baked way.
These shortcomings are made up for by the sheer beauty of the setting. The first glimpse of the village is simply stunning. It’s made as the group of the two lovers with their two friends make the walk to the fantastically picturesque elevated hillside village of Civita di Bagnoregio. It’s a dramatic scene and strikes as an image more soundly than much of the scripted action.
Above all else though, it’s a fun light-hearted movie with its heart in the right place, even when the details don’t make a whole lot of sense.