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Mafia Mamma

Toni Collette is one of my favorite actresses. "Hereditary", "The Sixth Sense" and "Nightmare Alley" all proved her versatility in dramatic roles, while "Knives Out" showed off her comic chops.

As Kristin, a clueless, shy American Mom suddenly pulled into the Mafia in Italy after the passing of her estranged grandfather, Collette earns some laughs. She's certainly better than the material.

Her opportunity to head to Italy is well timed. Her son Domenick (Tommy Rodger from "The Alienist") can't wait to get away to college while she sobs on the sidewalk.

Her man-child husband, Paul (Tim Diash) works at Starbucks, still plays in a band and can't remain faithful.

Before you can say Bada-Bing Bada-Boom, Kristin is off to Italy to meet every possible cliche "American woman in Italy Eat Pray Love" plot point and character ever seen.

Guilio Corso has a "meet-cute" with her at the airport as Rudy. She falls in love with him before she can even get to her grandfather's funeral.

As the coffin is carried through the town, a gun battle breaks out and Kristin is baffled, even though everything we've seen in the last twenty minutes screams that her family are the Mafia.

Monica Beliucci (Spectre, The Matrix Reloaded) is seductive as Bianca, her grandfather's right hand person and Kristin's guide into the crime family.

The film surrounds Kristin with every familiar character from every Mafia movie. The fat & skinny bodyguards that love her for her, the one family member that cant stand her and wants her out of the way, the Italian grandmother that serves endless plates of pasta.

There's a fine line between familiar and uninspired and this one all too often

falls into the latter territory.

I loved the family's reaction when Kristin says she hasn't ever watched "The Godfather". Some of her early accidental killings are funny (and gruesome!). Collette does what she can with a very tired script.

Newcomer Sophia Nomvete (Wednesday) absolutely steals the movie as Jenny, the corporate attorney at Kristin's job in America. Nomvete is flawless, smashing every punchline and bringing huge attitude to everything she does. I have never seen her on screen before, but I cant wait to see what she does next. The last time I saw a comedy debut this strong was Melissa McCarthy in "Bridemaids". It's too bad that it's in such a mediocre movie.

MAFIA MAMMA fires a lot of blanks on the way to a C.


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