Star – Andy Garcia
Genre – comedy
Run Time – 104 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Awards – 3 Wins & 4 Nominations
Amazon – £6.36 DVD £6.45 Blue Ray
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So City Island by Raymond De Felitta, an Oscar nominated director (for a animated short film way back in 1991) teaming up with the far more famous Oscar nominated Andy Garcia (The Godfather 111), teaming up her for a Brooklyn comedy about family.
Garcia is one of those actors that’s name is way cooler and familiar than his film choice to date and after GF3 it was quickly downhill. Pretty much everyone who looked Italian American got cast for that trilogy and many nominated for an Oscar. Andy, of course, was of Cuban descent and continued to play feisty Italian Americans as his career gently platued out, Oceans 12 his last moment in the Sun. In City Island he has come full circle and plays a prison guard who takes acting classes and eventually auditions for a Martin Scorcese movie playing an Italian mobster. Great looking guy but what happened to the career dude?
Andy Garcia ... Vince Rizzo
Julianna Margulies ... Joyce Rizzo
Steven Strait ... Tony
Emily Mortimer ... Molly
Ezra Miller ... Vince Jr.
Dominik García-Lorido ... Vivian Rizzo
Carrie Baker Reynolds ... Denise
Hope Glendon-Ross ... Cheryl
Alan Arkin ... Michael Malakov
Louis Mustillo ... Bruno
Curtiss Cook ... Matt Cruniff
Sharon Angela ... Tanya
Marianne Ebert ... Ezmalia
City Island is just that, a Bronx blue collar escape on the Hudson River near Manhattan. Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia), on the other hand, is a prison guard and the father of a dysfunctional and loud Italian American family whose members all have secrets living on the Island. His 20-year-old daughter Vivian (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) is living a double life as a stripper to paying off her college fees after getting booted out for smoking weed. 14-year-old Vince Jr. (Ezra Miller) has a perverted internet fetish for larger ladies and for Mrs Joyce Rizzo (Julianna Margulies), her secret desire is about to arrive in the near perfect form of 24-year-old prison inmate Tony Nardella (Steven Strait), who Vince has bought home to stay with them to straighten him out once and for all. Joyce is unaware that this is Vince big secret, Tony his son by another woman before they met. Without revealing that truth to his family, Vince employs him as hired help at his own home in order to become closer with his unknowing son. Vince has also been secretly taking acting lessons, taught by Michael Malakov (Alan Arkin), and begins to form a platonic relationship with Molly (Emily Mortimer), an aspiring actress.
The Rizzo girls are drawn to the hunk living in the shed who wears his shirt less than Poldark, and Joyce, feeling unloved in a tired marriage and thinking Vince is having an affair, decides to seduce the hunk. It’s time to come clean for all of them.
Hollywood does quite a few of these sitcom style family comedy films, usually centered around one of America’s most prominent communities, normally Jewish or Italian American families, and Americans chuckle away at these subtle comedies as if they have an insatiable appetite for them. Thy don’t , of course, but they just keep coming, break even, and on we go , the case here, its $ 6 million budget dragging back $7 million over 9 years. Maybe that drip drip million profit keeps the acting profession going. Who knows? All I know is there is are a ton of these to wade though to find a stand out one, which this is not.
Garcia is fun but forgettable and great to see the beautiful Julianna Margulies of ER and The good Wife TV success hitting the movies. This is considered her biggest hit so far and Snakes on a Plane the only other movie I recognize from the list. For Garcia he has clearly suffered for not taking on TV and a big HBO hit would have turned his career around. Picking this film suggests he has an appetite for a Charlie Sheen style sitcom.
I didn’t laugh at this much although not that type of film and very much a gentle comedy of manners and family. Some bigger names were connected to it as the script was considered hot but this lot all perfectly fine, Margulies, perhaps, a tad stereotyped s the Latino mum. The rest of the cast do their bit and female viewers can swoon at the hairy Steven Strait. Julianna Margulies straight air look is not flattering, one of the most stunning women I have seen in a while on TV or in a movie.
Its not a mid budget comedy I would tell you to go out and as a lot more of these out there better at doing this, although as wit this fertile genre, I cant recall them. It’s just another one of them. Football wise it’s a Capital One League Cup movie but an FA Cup one. It needed to be an FA Cup one to work and a tad old fashioned in delivery.
Imdb.com – 7.4 /10.0 (28,207votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 81% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 66% critic’s approval
No reason to go here.
Daily Telegraph –‘I won't make great claims for Raymond De Felitta's film - it hardly makes them for itself - but I will say this for it: as an ensemble acting workout, it exceeds expectations from the top down’.
Film4 –‘Its revelations come too early, and many of its scenes are too long, but City Island is kept afloat by its unusual location and fine-tuned performances’.
Film.com –‘Its revelations come too early, and many of its scenes are too long, but City Island is kept afloat by its unusual location and fine-tuned performances’.
The Mail-‘Andy Garcia is a pleasant enough guide to almost rate a visit to this City, but all the conflict here lies on the surface’.
San Diego Times –‘Andy Garcia is a pleasant enough guide to almost rate a visit to this City, but all the conflict here lies on the surface’
Daily Express –‘Melding the abundant misunderstandings of a Shakespeare comedy with the New York wit of a Neil Simon play, City Island is a boisterous charmer with a big heart’.
Hollywood Reporter –‘Andy Garcia demonstrates real comic chops in this charming comedy of family dysfunction’.