When I first saw the About My Father clip, I could see certain characteristics in Robert De Niro that reminded me of my own father: he was eccentric, possessive, and didn't like anything that wasn't in his script. I had no idea that when I saw the movie, I would see a fully developed version of my father, which would make me want to give him a big bear embrace. The central characters of the Lionsgate film About My Father are a father named Salvo (Robert De Niro) and his son Sebastian (Sebastian Maniscalco).
The movie centers on an Italian father-son team and is said to be partially inspired on Sebastian Maniscalco's connection with his father. Sebastian is striving to make it big in the hotel industry while his father Salvo, an immigrant hairstylist who lives in Chicago and is set in his ways. Leslie Bibb plays the role of Sebastian's wealthy American girlfriend, to whom he plans to pop the question during the Fourth of July holiday. Salvo vows he will only give the family's customary ring to a family he thinks is right for his kid.
What happens next is a sequence of unpleasant, humorous incidents that test Salvo and Sebastian's bond while also making fun of fancy Americans and Salvo's odd behavior. You are engrossed from beginning to finish in the engaging one and a half-hour movie. You may relate to the connection because Sebastian Maniscalco, the story's author, and director Laura Terruso include exactly the appropriate mix of humor and subtly emotional moments.
It is hardly surprising that Robert De Niro is the movie's driving force. He controls the role like Salvo has been his for many years. In the film, he outshines everyone, rendering Sebastian weak in a few situations. Sebastian makes sure that his humorous presence is there without overpowering the narrative.
In tight sequences, Kim Cattrall and De Niro mix well together. Their on-screen love-hate connection is palpable, and I wish we had seen a bit more of their banter. The Sex in the City actor commands your attention on film and may easily divert it from David Rasche and Anders Holm. Even though Brett Dier is a supporting actor, you can't help but be moved by his moments with De Niro.
The conclusion did felt a bit flimsy, as if Sebastian wasn't sure how to bring the carefully constructed film to a close so he turned to clichés and wrapped things up. The graph may have dropped, but it doesn't diminish the overall positive experience the movie has provided up to that point.
The bottom line: My Father is a family-friendly film to watch. With just the right amount of emotion to bind everything together, the producers succeeded on the humor front.