A Tale Of Two Pizzas

The Dickens reference in the title notwithstanding, first-time director Vincent Sassone's hit-and-miss ethnic comedy is actually a retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, with the Italian neighborhood of South Yonkers, N.Y., standing in for Verona, and two feuding pizza-making families acting like latter-day Montagues and Capulets. Things weren't always...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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The Dickens reference in the title notwithstanding, first-time director Vincent Sassone's hit-and-miss ethnic comedy is actually a retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, with the Italian neighborhood of South Yonkers, N.Y., standing in for Verona, and two feuding pizza-making families acting like latter-day Montagues and Capulets. Things weren't always bad between Vito Rossi (Vincent Pastore, of TV's The Sopranos) and Frank Bianco (Frank Vincent, also of The Sopranos), the rival owners of two popular neighborhood pizza palaces. Even though they've competed with each other since they were children, Vito and Frank once worked peaceably side by side in the legendary Yonkers pizzeria owned and operated by Emilio (Louis Guss). Upon retiring, however, Emilio made an error right out of King Lear. Hoping to keep Vito and Frank working in harmony, Emilio decided to divide the secret behind the best pizza in Yonkers between the two men, divulging to Frank the hush-hush method that produces a flawless crust and giving Frank his mamma's recipe for the perfect sauce. Twenty years later, Frank and Vito are mortal enemies with competing pizzerias, but things are about to change: After two years studying at Manhattan's Fashion Institute of Technology, Vito's daughter Angela (Robin Paul) has returned home, armed with spreadsheets and a business plan that she hopes will throw her father's business into overdrive. Frank, meanwhile, has a secret weapon of his own: His good-looking son, Tony (Conor Dubin), an aspiring cartoonist who really likes Angela, even though both pretend to share their fathers' bad blood. Frank tells Tony that if he insists on dating Angela, Tony might as well try to get the recipe for his sauce. Vito, meanwhile, has a few tricks up his own sleeve to get hold of the secret to Frank's special crust. Dough is slung and sauce is spilled, but aside from a duel fought with pizza paddles in which an innocent bystander gets whacked (literally, for once), there's none of Shakespeare's original violence; unsurprisingly, the film's star-crossed lovers don't wind up dying in a mistaken suicide pact. There is, however, some trite Italian-American stereotypes on display, and the interstitial animated sequences (presumably drawn by Tony) have nothing to do with the plot and drag down this otherwise sprightly comedy.

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  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The Dickens reference in the title notwithstanding, first-time director Vincent Sassone's hit-and-miss ethnic comedy is actually a retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, with the Italian neighborhood of South Yonkers, N.Y., standing in for Verona, an… (more)

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