Poor Scott Baio after spending a total of eight years on "Happy Days" and "Joanie Loves Chachi" and appearing on countless covers of 16 magazine, he'll probably never shake the aging teen-idol tag. And that's a shame: He acquits himself well in first-time filmmaker Melissa Martin's amiable independent picture, proving an actor of surprising range and even greater charisma. Even though he's just been promoted to senior VP at a big Pittsburgh firm, Dominic (Scott Baio) still wakes up at 4 am to join his brothers, mildly retarded Pino (Shuler Hensley) and ladykiller Eddie (Billy Mott), at the family biscotti bakery. It's not that he has to, it's just that baking bread in the cozy Italian neighborhood where he grew up, far from the madness of mergers and acquisitions, keeps him sane. Sure, Massimo (John Seitz), the lovable curmudgeon who lives upstairs with his wife, Bella (Rosemary Prinz), screams at him constantly, but it's clear the old man really loves Dom, while Bella treats him as the son she never had. Lucca (ER's Kristin Minter), the child Bella and Massimo do have, left home years ago for parts uncertain, and though Bella still puts spare change into coffee cans marked "Lucca's Wedding Fund" atop the refrigerator, Massimo insists she's never coming back. To Dominic and his brothers, Bella is a replacement for the mother they lost years ago. So when she's diagnosed with terminal cancer, Dominic wants to make sure she dies as happy as possible by making her fondest wish come true: Not just to see Lucca married, but to see her married to Dominic. Tracking down the prodigal daughter proves relatively easy; convincing the independent-minded Lucca to marry Dominic, however, is another kettle of bacalao. Though based on personal experiences (Martin's husband really does own a biscotti bakery downstairs from a cranky old widower), her script nevertheless falls victim to MOONSTRUCK syndrome, whose symptoms include chronic stereotyping of Italian-Americans as warm 'n' fuzzy and obsessed with food. Pino's character, meanwhile, appears to have wandered off the pages of Of Mice and Men and into the script. But performances are really what count in a character-driven romantic comedy like this, and each is well above the indie average.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: NR
- Review: Poor Scott Baio after spending a total of eight years on "Happy Days" and "Joanie Loves Chachi" and appearing on countless covers of 16 magazine, he'll probably never shake the aging teen-idol tag. And that's a shame: He acquits himself well in firs… (more)