#REVIEW: “LITTLE ITALY”
Toronto is overdue for a love story all its own, but surely it wouldn’t be an accurate one without embodying its diversity and love for food. Donald Petrie (Miss Congeniality, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) may already have made a pizza restaurant-set love story in 1988’s Mystic Pizza, but we get double the dilemmas in his latest, Little Italy. The Toronto-set Rom-Com is a Romeo & Juliet-esque love story about two lovers each with culinary aspirations of their own, whose parents are dueling neighbour pizza shop owners.
Nikki (Emma Roberts) and Leo (Hayden Christensen) are childhood friends, torn-apart by their families after a dispute between their fathers saw them split from their joint venture to two competing restaurants. The former is tasked with having to return home to update her VISA amidst her budding career as a chef in London and she gets more than she bargained for. The flame still burns in the wood stove that is their hearts, though they must conceal their looming love. We learn though that they aren’t the only ones carrying a secret in the concurrent love stories that make Little Italy.
Co-Writers Vinay Virmani and Steve Galluccio pen a story which while not entirely unfamiliar, is packed with lots of wit and “now”, which should find its place with a new generation who have feasted on superhero blockbusters and action, but are starved of Rom-Coms. Punchlines are plentiful and the Cast have fun delivering them.
Great is Emma Roberts in the lead role. While we don’t quite always feel that flicker between her and Christensen, who does his best going outside his comfort zone, there is lots of passion between Andrea Martin‘s Franca, Nikki’s nonna, and Danny Aiello‘s Carlo, who is Leo‘s nonno. Ironically, Aiello who is actually Italian has the more subtle accent. Milano delivers as Nikki‘s mother even though surely she can’t possibly be old enough for the role! Toronto’s Andrew Phung also does his best as Luigi who is struggling in many ways to find his identity but finds it in Little Italy.
The Film is exactly what it is supposed to be and while a tad long, that can be overlooked as there is lots of fun in the oven! You will be hungry and be warned of persistent pizza cravings after.
eOne Films release LITTLE ITALY Friday, August 24, 2018.