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1 item from 1997

Film review: 'Kiss Me, Guido'

18 July 1997 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

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.



Director-screenwriter Tony Vitale

Producers Ira Deutchman, Christine Vachon

Executive producers Jane Barclay,

Tom Carouso, Sharon Harel,

Christopher Lawford

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


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