ABOUT MY FATHER Promises A Personal Story, But Fails In Its Delivery

Very loosely based on his life, About My Father promises a personal glimpse into comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, an Italian-American comedian with charisma and some natural real-world experiences that make his stand-up comedy very relatable. However, unlike his stand-up act, the movie often plays out like a frustrating installment of the Meet the Parents/Meet the Fockers series. That is not to say that the film doesn’t have its funny moments. However, at the film’s end, everything that occurs feels so artificial and contrived.

Maniscalco stars as Sebastian, a humble but moderately successful hotel manager who feels ready to propose marriage to his girlfriend Ellie (Leslie Bibb). Ellie, a struggling artist, comes from a very different background from wealthy and successful parents willing to ensure their children benefit from the fruits of their success. With many reservations about his surviving parent Salvo (Robert DeNiro), Sebastian wants to find the perfect time to propose to Ellie. He is convinced that Ellie’s family celebration of America’s Independence Day is the right moment. However, as Sebastian has traditionally celebrated the holiday with his father, he reluctantly agrees to invite his father to the event.

Written by Maniscalco and Austen Earl, and directed by Lisa Terruso, About My Father delivers a mix of humor that works, but also humor and moments that come across as ludicrous and frustrating, that it is simply hard to buy the reality behind these ideas. The filmmakers present the events as a comedy of errors that often question the intelligence of its players. While some moments feel genuine, others are so ridiculous that it is hard to believe these characters are clueless.

The characters are mainly developed as caricatures of supposedly real people, making this movie so hard to digest as a personal story. While some beats are credible and accessible, others are just too unbelievable to feel like they occurred. Maniscalco would have benefited from a better screenwriter and a more prudent director to eliminate the false attempts at humor and get to what is real.

I cannot recommend About My Father, as it plays like an insincere and forced piece of comedy filmmaking. Though the movie has amusing moments, it is not worth anyone’s time or money.

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