1 item from 1997
An affable comedy of manners about a Bronx pizza-maker who follows his thespian dreams to the West Village, "Kiss Me, Guido" serves as a light but promising mainstream entry for first-time writer-director Tony Vitale.
Screened this year at Sundance in the out-of-competition American Spectrum program, the picture serves up a good-natured skewering of gay and straight cultural stereotypes that makes up in warmth what it may lack in subtlety.
While definitely not your average Paramount fare, careful handling and enthusiastic word-of-mouth should take "Guido" beyond its specialized audience base.
Nick Scotti provides the right blend of Tony Manero machismo and gentle naivete as Italian-American Frankie Zito, a DeNiro/Pacino/Pesci-quoting wannabe who answers a Village Voice ad for a "GWM" roommate, believing the abbreviation to stand for "guy with money."
The GWM in question turns out to be Warren (Anthony Barrile), a Soho actor-choreographer recently dumped by his boyfriend who is having a little trouble making the rent. The mistaken-identity situation leads to the inevitable cultural clash, but ultimately, Frankie and Warren form a growing bond, cemented by the mutually respected power of disco music and the fact that Warren starred in one of Frankie's favorite martial arts movies.
Scotti, a former model making his feature film debut following a recurring role in a daytime soap, brings a light comic likability to the part. There's a sweetness to his swagger. Barrile, meanwhile, comes across as a low-key Nathan Lane in his portrayal of Scotti's perpetually sad-sack gay foil.
Also effective are Molly Price as Barrile's unlucky-in-love landlord, Meryl; Christopher Lawford as Warren's weasely ex-boyfriend, Dakota; and Domenick Lombardozzi as Scotti's faithful Bronx buddy, Joey Chips, who brings over the rest of Scotti's stuff, carefully folded in pizza boxes.
Writer-director Vitale, a New York Film Production veteran, admittedly employs a broad stroke here -- the "La Cage Aux Folles" influence is unmistakable -- and his across-the-board style of cultural parody will undoubtedly raise the ire of PC police, but he fills the story with enough clever bits to freshen up the farce.
Production values on this low-budgeter are solid, making good use of the Little Italy/Soho backdrops.
Music supervisor Randall Poster, meanwhile, plays deejay, helping to keep things moving with a nonstop disco mix.
KISS ME, GUIDO
Director-screenwriter Tony Vitale
Producers Ira Deutchman, Christine Vachon
Executive producers Jane Barclay,
Director of photography Claudia Raschke
Production designer Jeffrey Rathaus
Editor Alexander Hall
Costume designer Victoria Farrell
Music supervisor Randall Poster
Casting Hopkins, Smith and Barden
Frankie Nick Scotti
Warren Anthony Barrile
Pino Anthony DeSando
Terry Craig Chester
Joey Chips Domenick Lombardozzi
Dakota Christopher Lawford
Meryl Molly Price
Running time -- 91 minutes
MPAA rating: R
1 item from 1997
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