Although veteran comedian Rodney Dangerfield looks physically frail, fans should enjoy his antics in this slight romantic comedy inspired by Dangerfield's days as a singing waiter. It opens with a sympathetic bartender, Alphonse (Charles Fleischer), comforting a lovesick customer by relating the story of his boss, Lupo (Dangerfield ), who didn't have a care in the world until he hired Gina (Annabelle Gurwitch) to sing in his restaurant, the Serenade Cafe. Lupo falls head over heels in love with tough-cookie Gina, rejects the older man's advances, insisting that she could only fall for a great opera singer. Hoping to encourage Lupo to turn his eyes elsewhere, Alphonse persuades ticket-scalper Ierra (Robert Davi) to introduce himself to the ambitious Gina as a talent scout. But Ierra sees a way to work his own scam and doublecrosses Alphonse. He declares Lupo who can't sing a note a great talent and sends him to Italy to s t u d y with Vincenzo (Richard Libertini), the world's worst vocal coach. Ierra, meanwhile, collects a generous salary from the deluded Lupo. Vincenzo mistakenly books Lupo the lead in an opera, with the inevitable results: Passionate music lovers boo him out of town. The disgraced Lupo is rescued by luscious Rosa (Anita DeSimone), whose relatives all sing like angels. Lupo soon learns their secret: The family's homemade wine confers the ability to warble like a bird. With a few cases of reinforcement in tow, Lupo returns to America and triumphs as a tenor. But Gina is still out of reach; she's taken up with Ierra. Before Lupo realizes the obvious that he's destined to spend his life with Rosa, not the mercenary Gina Vincenzo tries to get his hands on Rosa's magical brew, she thwarts him with a "special" vintage and greedy Ierra tries to turn Gina into the next Cecilia Bartoli. Some enchanting Italian sequences sweeten this music-filled confection, but in the end it hits too many false notes to be successful, even on its own modest turns. Dangerfield knows how to goose a gag along, but Davi and Gurewitch lack the throwaway delivery this comedy of incongruity needed to make it sing.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Although veteran comedian Rodney Dangerfield looks physically frail, fans should enjoy his antics in this slight romantic comedy inspired by Dangerfield's days as a singing waiter. It opens with a sympathetic bartender, Alphonse (Charles Fleischer), comfor… (more)