After three Meet the Parents movies, it’s strange to see Robert De Niro playing a cantankerous parent in another film with the same premise. But unlike the comedy where she partnered with Ben Stiller, in which she played a former CIA spook who took a strong dislike to her future son-in-law and was overly protective of her family. In About My Father, he plays an Italian hairdresser who is in love with his hotel manager son and feels he won’t fit in with the super wealthy parents of his son’s girlfriend. Unlike the previous films, his character is more relatable and human. There are several in-jokes, including the inclusion of a pet peacock being served as dinner, but it all feels genuine. To give it a purely Bollywood context, it feels like a Govinda-Kader Khan film, with over the top melodrama and dance numbers.
Sebastian Maniscalco is a well-known stand up comic who has had supporting roles in films such as Green Book (2018) and The Irishman (2019). About My Father is his attempt at playing a leading man. She has a charming enough personality and has the acting chops going for her, not to mention good comic timing. The film is based on his experiences with his own Italian immigrant father, who immigrated to America from Sicily at age 15 and became a barber.
Sebastian Maniscalco (playing himself) is a Chicago-based hotel manager of a boutique hotel who falls in love with Ellie Collins (Leslie Bibb), an enigmatic painter. She happens to be the daughter of Bill (David Rasche) and Tiger (Kim Cattrall), millionaires who own a chain of luxury hotels. He wants to propose to her during the Fourth of July holiday, only problem is he wants to give her an heirloom ring that her father, hairdresser Salvo (Robert De Niro), doesn’t want to part with. Salvo, who is totally old school, thinks that Sebastian and Ellie are different. The two are invited to stay with Ellie’s family at an upscale club and slowly, a series of hilarious misadventures begins that threatens Sebastian and Ellie’s impending union.
The situations in the film are funny as hell and the dialogues are funny too. Sebastian Maniscalo and Robert De Niro both have impeccable comic timing and it’s great to see them take on each other. They come across as a father and son couple who love each other despite their differences. Their scenes together are the life of the film. De Niro loves to feed his co-stars and his scenes with Kim Cattrall are hilarious too. There is no villain in the film. The rich in-laws try to impress Sebastian and Ellie but quickly back down when they realize their mistake. There is no big controversy in this. Everyone is nice to each other and settles their differences easily. But it’s not jarring at all as the laughs keep flowing.
Watch the film for the dialogue between Sebastian Maniscalo and Robert De Niro, as well as for its feel-good storyline.
Trailer: About My Father
Dhawal Roy, May 25, 2023, 3:30 PM IST
Story: Before proposing to his fiancée, Sebastian is invited to spend the weekend with his rich and eccentric family. As he moves in with his Italian immigrant father, a clash of opposing cultures threatens to jeopardize their relationship. But he learns a profound lesson about his father and family bonds.
Review: Robert De Niro stars as an overprotective father who terrorizes his would-be son-in-law. Whereas those stories focused more on the silly and unfortunate incidents, this one centered around Salvo (Robert De Niro), an Italian immigrant hairdresser with a “resting b*tch face,” who took care of his son Sebastian. (Sebastian Manichelko) is raised in a family. Typical way. What should happen when a hard-to-please guy comes face to face with a ridiculously wealthy and eccentric family? An interesting ride when two sides collide. More so because each is quirky and harsh in its own way.
What director Laura Teruso makes work is a clash of cultures, not people. On the one hand, we have a penny-pinching taskmaster, and on the other, parents who make fun of their kids. Sebastian loves Ellie (Leslie Bibb) as deeply as Salvo loves his roots, and one of the two may need to give. Who will win in this family vs fiancé game?
about my father Sebastian Maniscalco and is based on his relationship with his father. While one can imagine what it must be like on screen in real life, it is a hilarious journey filled with clever humor and satire. It has its own dose of slapstick comedy, as Ellie’s entitled brother Lucky (Anders Holm) decides to bully Sebastian, and Salvo tries to fit in, leading to some hilarious mishaps.
Characterization is its strong point as the film is primarily about two families. From middle-class Sicilian Salvo to uptight Collins-Tiger (Kim Cattrall), her husband Bill (David Rasche), their highly spiritual younger sons, Doug Collins (Brett Dyer) and Lucky. The polar opposite worldviews and people make for an interesting narrative. Robert De Niro is excellent, and his scenes with Sebastian, whether bonding against the odds or mocking Collins’ weaknesses, are well done. While their chemistry shines, they deliver cheeky lines with great confidence and ease. Kim Cattrall is equally impressive as a strong-minded and proud woman. There’s a sequence about him getting a hairdo from Salvo, which is rib-tickling.
about my father There may not be a new premise, and the viewer knows what to expect, but the interactions and funny dialogues between the characters give it a fresh take. The film is worth visiting theaters for the performances and one-liners.