Film Review: Little Italy

Donald Petrie’s Little Italy does not quite fall into the “so bad it’s good” category. Which is a shame, as the film has little going for it. 

Nikki and Leo are best friends; their parents run a pizza restaurant together. As adults, their families are rivals. When Nikki comes back to town, feelings materialise between the pair…

Little Italy is a romantic comedy about two childhood friends who reunite as adults and see sparks fly. The film opens on the idyllic childhood of Nicki and Leo, with both main characters providing narration. As the course of true love can naturally never run smooth, the love story is complicated by the falling out of their families, and Nicki’s job offer in London. 

Little Italy fails due to its reliance on tired stereotypes. Broadly speaking, the Italian-North American (the film is set in Canada) tropes are tired, yet film wants to rehash as many as possible. Writers Steve Galluchio and Vinay Virmani include almost every stereotype possible. This is done, it appears, without any circumspection; the film comes across as sincere with its insincere depictions. It is not just the Italian-heritage characters who fall victim to this, with archetypal Indian supporting characters.

The protagonists are given a little more development. Nevertheless, it would be remiss to say that they are compelling characters. Little Italy follows the well-tread path of the city girl returning to her small hometown and reuniting with the small town boy (so far, so Sweet Home Alabama). Nikki’s trajectory feels unsatisfactory for a contemporary-set film. Several of Little Italy’s issues could be forgiven if the central love story was enchanting. Unfortunately there is little chemistry between Hayden Christensen’s Leo and Emma Roberts’ Nikki. It is neither actor’s finest hour.

Little Italy feels hopelessly outdated. Although the film is not a boring watch, it is not recommended viewing either.

Little Italy is available to watch on UK digital download platforms from Monday 11th March 2019.

Film Review: Jumper 3D

Jumper 3D

2008’s Jumper gets a 3D Blu-Ray this month. Whilst not an awful film, it is difficult to see what warranted this release.

As a teenager, David Rice discovers that he has the ability to teleport when he is placed in a precarious situation. Years later he uses his ability to create an impressive lifestyle, but he is not as safe as he thinks…

Doug Liman’s Jumper offers an entertaining enough premise. The film begins well, and creates some momentum. This is squandered by a lacklustre ending however. The film’s conclusion feels anticlimactic. There is a distinct sense that things have been left open for a sequel.

Based on Steven Gould’s story, Jumper does not attempt to explain the phenomenon of teleporting. It is quite refreshing that the film dives into the action without labouring a convoluted explanation. On the flipside however, the film does not give a satisfying reason for the antagonists. Without a reason to hunt the teleporters, these characters appear rather aimless.

Dialogue in Jumper can be a bit cheesy. The characters fulfil various achetypes. There is not enough depth to the main characters to fully engage viewers. The romantic strand could have been better developed. The relationship between David and Millie seems to function only as motivation for impeding danger, instead of an interesting relationship in its own right.

Special effects in Jumper are decent. The 3D conversion, however, is sadly lacking. It is subtle in terms of depth. The film looks too bright, and this gives the effect of a cheap television production rather than a glossy Hollywood movie.

Performances in the film are adequate enough. Hayden Christensen fails to shine in the lead role. Jamie Bell is better, whilst Rachel Bilson is cute but limited with her one-dimensional character.

Jumper is not a particularly memorable sci-fi film. Neither painful nor rewarding viewing.

Jumper is released on 3D Blu-Ray from 5th August 2013.