Saturday, August 25, 2007

Family Flaw

Unless you’ve got all the time in the world, love anything that is Italian, including hysteria, have no objection to 100% predictability and to plotlines that depend on outrageous coincidences, and deus ex machina solutions, don’t rent the movie Family Flaw (Un difetto di famiglia). In case you don’t trust me to tell you how bad it is, consider that five years have passed since it was distributed and has yet to post a single review.

Nicolà and his wife are marrying their daughter off to some rich guy and are praying nothing goes wrong. And what are the chances nothing will go wrong? Zero, right? (Else where would we start the story?) Grandma – Nicolà’s mama – drops dead as the ceremony is about to start.

Scene Two. Same crowd. The wedding’s been called off, of course, and they’re all at mama’s funeral. Church door opens. Grand entrance time. It’s Francesco, mama’s other son, Nicolà’s brother, whom he hasn’t spoken to in forty years. The reason? Francesco is a flaming queen. Not the mincing kind, but even if you could miss the scarlet scarf, the dog in his arms would still be a dead give-away.

What are the chances this is going to be about something other than reconciliation? Zero again, right? So now you know the story. All the rest, as Rabbi Hillel put it, is commentary. In this case a journey together with mama in a hearse to take her home to Case Bianche, the full length of Italy from the hip to the heel of the boot.

All those reasons to pass this movie up, and I still haven’t given you the biggie. The tears of reconciliation piled onto the speechifying over the importance of tolerance. Like a three-week diet of nothing but See’s Candy pressed into a whole hour and 48 minutes.

So why did I sit through the whole thing and play back whole scenes? I’m a sucker for non-Hollywood filmmaking and for farce as only Mediterraneans can pull it off. Like singing all the songs at sing-alongs, you know there are times to pull the shades and enjoy the ride. With things like this, you can also, of course, celebrate the fact that history has brought us to this point. Mr. Mozzarella Cheese Magnate holds up his daughter’s wedding (when it finally takes place) because his gay brother isn’t there yet – he always requires an entrance. And testifies in the meantime to the error of his ways all these years.

It won’t make you cry, necessarily. But if you’re gay or gay-friendly, it might make you smile and feel good all over.

Just before you go write a letter to your friends insisting your standards are too high to recommend it.

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