city island DI
2009 Running time: 103 Certificate: 12 Rating: 3
city island 1Sb

Synopsis

The arrival of an ex-con (Steven Strait) into their home upsets the deceitful equilibrium of The Rizzos, a family seemingly unbound not by familial ties but a web of lies (the daughter's a stripper and the son's obsessed by fat women eating on the internet). Andy Garcia plays the patriarch, a prison officer with hidden aspirations to become an actor, while Julianna Margulies is the neglected wife convinced her husband's having an affair. Smart, urbane comedy from writer-director Raymond De Felitta.

Director

  • Raymond De Felitta

Cast

  • Andy Garcia

  • Julianna Margulies

  • Steven Strait

  • Alan Arkin

  • Emily Mortimer

Review

Blue collar prison guard Vince Rizzo (Garcia) appears to have the perfect American suburban life living in the pretty Bronx waterside neighbourhood of City Island in the clapboard house his grandfather built.

He's got a smart wife (Margulies), a couple of good-looking kids (Miller, Garcia-Lorido, Garcia's own daughter)), a job he likes...but there's something missing. He wants to be an actor. And not just any old actor, he wants to be Marlon Brando.

However, he doesn't want to tell his wife that he's attending acting lessons with Alan Arkin's old stager (he says he's playing poker) and he certainly doesn't want to tell her that the petty criminal whose just turned up in his nick is none other than his long lost son Tony (Strait.

Tempting fate, he invites the surly ex-con into the family fold when he gets probation, cryptically explaining to Margulies that he's the son of an old friend of his.

Unfortunately, Tony does not realise he's entering a house built on so many petty deceptions that it's in danger of imploding when they inevitably come to light.

Apart from dad's mythical "poker games", Vince's son conceals a sexual obsession with overeating fat women while his daughter secretly works as a pole dancer to help pay college bills after she flunked her scholarship.

To make matters worse, Vince's wife - suspecting he's having an affair when all he's doing is having the odd drink with fellow acting wannabe Emily Mortimer - finds herself drawn to the iron-pec'd Tony.

Written and directed by Rayond De Felitta, this highly enjoyable, sweet-natured suburban farce would not have seen the light of day were it not for Garcia's skills as a producer.

The acting is spot-on, particularly Garcia and Margulies, whose chemistry and comic timing propels the plot forward, while there's cast iron support from Strait and the junior Rizzo clan.

Sweet and satisfying.

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