A Wake in Providence

This witless farce about racial intolerance and family ties, made in 1999 but unreleased until 2005, dredges up so may hoary Italian-American stereotypes that it's hard to believe brothers Vincent and Mike Pagano — first-time filmmakers who between them cowrote, coproduced and costarred — are themselves of Italian extraction. Struggling Sicilian-American...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on
Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
Rating:

This witless farce about racial intolerance and family ties, made in 1999 but unreleased until 2005, dredges up so may hoary Italian-American stereotypes that it's hard to believe brothers Vincent and Mike Pagano — first-time filmmakers who between them cowrote, coproduced and costarred — are themselves of Italian extraction. Struggling Sicilian-American actor Anthony Gelati (Vincent Pagano) never got around to telling his noisy, interfering family that his girlfriend, paralegal Alissa (Victoria Rowell, of TV's Diagnosis Murder and The Young and the Restless), is black. But there's no keeping the secret when Grandpa dies and he has to hop a plane from Los Angeles to Providence for the wake and funeral. The Gelati-Baldassarre clan, a collection of all those hoary stereotypes, rise to the occasion, assuming that paralegal Alissa is the sister of the only black man they know, making insulting racial remarks, pushing piles of food at each other, passing wind and sharing embarrassing revelations about their various physical infirmities. Moronic cousins Louie and Brunie (cowriter Billy Van Zandt, John Mariano), who moved back in with their mom after convincing themselves the mob was after them, argue about THE GODFATHER and parse the difference between dolls and action figures. Anthony's brother, Frankie (Mike Pagano), who runs the family grocery store, confesses that he likes to wear women's underwear, leading to many brainless homophobic gags. Frankie and Anthony's mom (Lisa Raggio) smacks her boys upside their heads and tells them to show some respect. Screeching Grandma Baldassarre (Kaye Kingston) complains about young people, the modern church and her ungrateful children. Alissa is as horrified at Anthony's spinelessness as she is at his family's blatant bigotry, but fortunately supersexy Aunt Lidia (Adrienne Barbeau) — the family black sheep, if you'll excuse the term — treats Alissa like the charming, educated young woman she is, and Lidia is keeping her own secret from the rest of the family: She's been dating a much younger man for four years. Love conquers all, but not before the entire cast — with the exception of Rowell and the absolutely stunning, 54-year-old Barbeau — have embarrassed themselves so thoroughly that they should be ashamed to show their faces in the 21st-century world.

Coming Soon

Because it's never too early to plan Thursday night... two months from now.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: R
  • Review: This witless farce about racial intolerance and family ties, made in 1999 but unreleased until 2005, dredges up so may hoary Italian-American stereotypes that it's hard to believe brothers Vincent and Mike Pagano — first-time filmmakers who between them co… (more)

Show More »