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Proval's performance almost saves this well-meaning "kitchen" drama.
Nunzio is a little-seen drama which tells a standard underdog story a husky, mentally-challenged deliveryman (David Proval) who dreams of being a superhero. Teased by the local hoods, his older brother Jamesie (James Andronica, who also wrote the screenplay) protects Nunzio to the point of smothering him.
Although the movie is rather sappy, Proval dose a very good job of keeping most of the ham in check (unlike co-star/screenwriter Andronica). In addition, Jazz singer/Corelone matriarch Morgana King was a welcome sight playing the mother of Nunzio and Jamesie.
Note: There was one specific scene that to this day still makes me uncomfortable even though it was important to the plot and put this movie in MPAA rating limbo. The film was originally rated R because of a sex scene between the main character and a neighborhood girl. According to the original NY Times review by Janet Maslin, that scene was edited down so the movie can get a PG rating. When the movie was shown on cable TV, the R-rated version was shown at night and the PG-rated version was shown during the day. I would have to agree with Maslin that if you took the sex scene out, the scenes after the incident made no sense at all.
Universal released Nunzio to theaters in 1978 but has never released the movie to DVD. I wonder why? Ever since his 1973 debut in Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets, Proval has been a very dependable character actor an has appeared in numerous movie and TV projects including his memorable role as Richie Aprile in The Sopranos. I would think Universal would have considered releasing Nunzio to DVD to take advantage of Proval's Soprano buzz and show how talented the actor was to people who have never seen or heard of Nunzio. Sometimes some marketing strategies makes too much sense.
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