‘About My Father’ Review: A Delightful Symphony of Comedy and Warmth

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As I seated myself in the bustling venue for the pre-release special screening of ‘About My Father,’ hosted by Starburst Promotions at SterKinekor @ The Grove Mall in Pretoria, the air was thick with palpable anticipation and excitement. The place was brimming with celebrities and media personalities, including Neil Sandilands, Cobus Visser, Tiaan Massyn, as well as some media brands such as Plectrum, Maroela Media, Reputasie, and Tuks FM to name but a few. With the delightful blend of delicious wine and a glittering red carpet, the event was, in every sense of the word, a dazzling spectacle.

‘About My Father,’ the latest movie featuring the comedic genius of Sebastian Maniscalco, is a heartwarming and delightful journey into the complex fabric of family dynamics. This engaging family comedy is a throwback, sure to bring forth fond memories of early noughties humour – making it one of the most pleasant surprises of the year thus far. The movie is full of zest and wit, showcasing Maniscalco at his comedic best whilst simultaneously offering a gentle exploration of his Sicilian heritage and family ties.

The film sees Maniscalco portraying a fictionalised version of himself, dating the lovely Ellie, played by Leslie Bibb. Ellie’s rich and eccentric American family serves as the perfect foil to Sebastian’s father Salvo, brilliantly portrayed by Robert De Niro. Salvo is an unfiltered Italian immigrant hairstylist, offering a vibrant blend of warmth and witty quips in his unique style. The ensuing clash of cultures when Ellie’s family meets Sebastian’s for the Fourth of July is a hilarious jumble of secrets, misunderstandings, and uproarious incidents involving a pet peacock.

Co-writers Laura Terruso, Maniscalco and Austen Earl have crafted an intricate comedy that manages to touch upon stereotypes without relying solely on them for the humour. The delightful surprise in ‘About My Father’ is the subtle yet compelling love story that blooms not just between the leading couple, but between father and son, giving the film a sweet and honest charm.

What sets this film apart is its heartfelt portrayal of two very different families. Rather than villainising Ellie’s family or portraying Salvo as a caricature, the film gives us a glimpse into two disparate worlds, both rich and compelling in their own ways. Terruso’s directorial finesse shines through in scenes like Lucky’s introduction – stepping out of a family helicopter in a flight suit, reminiscent of a ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ moment.

De Niro’s performance as Salvo is nothing short of stellar. Infusing the role with his trademark wit and vivacity, De Niro brings Salvo to life with an authenticity that is at once delightful and heartwarming. The dynamic between Maniscalco’s relatable everyman and De Niro’s charismatic Salvo creates a chemistry that is both touching and hilarious. Leslie Bibb, Kim Cattrall, David Rasche, and Anders Holm all deliver brilliant performances, while Brett Dier as Doug steals the spotlight every time he graces the screen.

The film’s inherent warmth is what makes it an engaging watch. Its humour is kind-hearted and sincere, never leaning into mean-spiritedness or edgy comedy. It’s a movie for the entire family, one that brings back a simpler era of comedy that’s light-hearted and enjoyable for all age groups.

Both Maniscalco and Terruso have crafted ‘All About My Father’ as a love letter to their respective parents, a sentiment that is perceptible throughout the film. While it’s not aiming for the highest accolades, the movie is far from sophomoric, as some might have inferred from its promotional material. ‘All About My Father’ presents Maniscalco’s brilliant stand-up comedy in a cinematic format, a feature that will no doubt win over his existing fan base and captivate a new cohort of followers.

‘About My Father’ is a comedy that hits the sweet spot, a perfect blend of hilarity and warmth that leaves viewers with a lingering sense of joy. It’s a movie that celebrates the beauty of families, in all their diversity and chaos, making it a must-watch cinematic delight.

Shaun Zietsman https://www.thesomethingguy.co.za

Blogger and Content Creator from Johannesburg, South Africa.

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