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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Limited Budgetary Allowance And Uninspired Direction Is Fortunately Overcome By Hard-Working Players And Crew.

6/10
Author: rsoonsa (rsoonsa@bandbbooks.com) from Mountain Mesa, California
13 April 2006

This Canadian made film, shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, essentially has no actual beginning, ending or even middle, due to an episodic structure that would allow for a wide interchangeability of scenes, but despite this lack of cohesion and oversight, the work is consistently entertaining due to zealous performances by some members of the cast along with surprisingly high production values. Producer Frank Procopio, who also contributes the original screenplay, has selected for background some elements that have parallels with his own life - he is a dentist and of Italian descent, and the principal character here, Bennie (Jonathan Crombie) is shown attending the University of British Columbia School of Dentistry, additionally having close ties with his extended Italian-Canadian family group. Bennie's plans to become a dentist languish when his favourite uncle Nino (Joseph Campanella) dies, leaving to the young man his home in addition to a business, Cafe Romeo, but Ben is labouring as well with other concerns, because he is in love with Lia (Catherine Mary Stewart), wife to his first cousin Piero (Michael Tiernan), and must also deal with his closest friend Marco (John Cassini), a penny stock player who has gulled Bennie into being part of a risky financial "investment". To complicate the plot even more Lia, finding little of abiding merit within her marriage to a tyro Mafia thug who is undermining her self-confidence, and who urges her to make a life by working at the restaurant and bearing babies, longs for a brighter existence as a fashion designer, for which vocation she has an employment offer in New York City that would plainly jeopardize a potential romance with Bennie, for whom she harbours passionate although unfulfilled affection. Philosophical differences between Procopio and the film's director blunt the work's effectiveness, and it becomes in the main a loosely linked series of independent sketches yet, although any type of primary storyline is submerged beneath a glut of subplots, many of the actors ably contribute traditional skills, and in spite of some very poorly constructed moments, it is a tribute to the energy of many involved here that a generally amiable atmosphere is maintained. A nicely descriptive score is from Amin Bhatia, and cinematographer Philip Linzey is efficient with a variety of moods and action, and those scenes deploying extras are neatly organized, a viewer eventually willing to overlook the film's unfocused structure, thanks to effective turns from most of a cast that enlivens this piece that often is cumbered with banal dialogue and action.

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