Movie Reviews

Film Review: “City Island”

(Anchor Bay Films. 1 hour, 40 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, smoking and language. Directed by Raymond De Felitta.) Andy Garcia (Vince Rizzo), Julianna Marguilies (Joyce Rizzo), Ezra Miller (Vince Jr.), Dominik Garcia-Lorido (Vivian Rizzo), Steven Strait (Tony Nardella), Emily Mortimer (Molly), Alan Arkin (Michael Malakov). Music by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek.

Some laugh-out-loud moments punctuate this tale of an Italian family situated on City Island, a tiny fishing village in the far-east Bronx, prettily situated on Long Island Sound. (Yes, it’s a real place; I grew up in The Bronx and never heard of it.) Dad Vince (Andy Garcia) is a prison guard (“correctional officer,” he insists) with a dream of becoming an actor in the Brando mold. He’s taking stealth acting lessons in Manhattan from an old pro (Arkin) and becomes friendly with an encouraging classmate (Mortimer). Vince’s wife (Marguilies) suspects he’s having an affair.

Meanwhile the kids have secrets of their own: son Vince Jr. (newcomer Miller, keep an eye on him) hides his love of fat women, and Vivian hasn’t gotten around to mentioning she’s lost her college scholarship and is now a stripper. Into this nutty mix is dragged a newcomer: Tony’s an ex-con and car thief who Vince brings home to stay without warning the family; we know, and they don’t, that Tony is Vince’s son. Tony is also a very attractive young man, and well, complications ensue. (Hey, what happened to the car?) Plot contrivances abound, and you can pretty much guess how things are going to turn out, but that’s OK, you’ll enjoy the journey. As far as dysfunctional-family movies go, the tone here is pretty relaxed: closer to Moonstruck than The Royal Tenenbaums.