The Boston Phoenix
Review from issue: September 9 - 16, 1999

[Boston Film Festival]

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A Wake in Providence

The making of this romantic comedy was clearly a labor of love for Vincent Pagano, who produced, co-wrote, and starred in it. Too bad the film so often labors over its lovy-dovy plot. Prodigal son Tony (Pagano) returns home for a family funeral with girlfriend Alyssa (Victoria Rowell) in tow; the problem is that the girlfriend is black and the family is very, very Italian. What follows -- a hybrid of Moonstruck and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner -- is an awkwardly fond look at low-grade racism. Yet when the family matriarch says, "You're not for my grandson," you might be inclined to agree -- not because Alyssa is black but because she's gray (I've seen more pep in an Italian sub). Of course, Tony's not exactly dripping with charisma himself. At least the supporting cast embrace ethnic stereotypes with maniacal vigor. The Italianate antics are amusing at times (who can resist the shoe-flinging, ear-tugging mother?), but they're also numbingly predictable -- as is the film's sappy conclusion. A Wake in Providence might just put you to sleep. Screens at the Copley Place Thursday, September 9 at 7 and 9:15 p.m. and Friday, September 10 at 12:45, 3, and 5:15 p.m. Director Rosario J. Roveto Jr. and actors Vincent Pagano, Michael Pagano, and Victoria Rowell will be present at tonight's 7 p.m. showing.

-- Chris Wright

Film Festival Feature Films

| The Minus Man | The Tavern | Black Eyed Dog | The Last September | A Wake in Providence | Man of the Century | Pups | Dreaming of Joseph Leeds | Wisdom of Crocodiles | That's The Way I Like It | American Beauty | Mifune | Black Cat, White Cat | Hit and Runway | All the LIttle Animals | Me Myself I | The Alchemist and the Virgin | Trash | Old Man River | The Poet and the Con | Snow Falling on Cedars | Guinevere | East is East | American Movie | Rivers of Babylon | Two Ninas | Rats | Keepers of the Frame | The Runner |

More Boston Film Festival information, film descriptions, and show times

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