Mambo italiano [2003]

Set in the Little Italy neighborhood of Montreal, Mambo Italiano is a fresh and enjoyable take on gay relationships. After reconnecting with an estranged childhood friend, Angelo (Luke Kirby) discovers that he and Nino (Peter Miller) have more in common than just their Italian heritage and suffocating families. After they move in together, Angelo finds that he can't stand being in the closet any longer--but Nino, who's a cop and much more attached to passing as straight, resists. After Angelo tells his parents (Ginette Reno and Paul Sorvino), their lives explode and Angelo discovers that coming out may cost him everything he held dear. The emphasis on ethnic humor threatens to turn Mambo Italiano into My Big Gay Italian Wedding, but the clever writing, sprightly performances, and inventive direction keep the movie consistently unpredictable and funny. Also featuring Claudia Ferri as Angelo's neurotic sister. --Bret Fetzer

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