The Deli

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy

The cameos keep coming and coming: David Johansen, Ice T, Iman, Heavy D, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Shirley Stoler, Burt Young... you can only wonder what favors they were discharging by appearing in this witless, painfully unfunny slice-of-life comedy. Lovable loser Johnny Amico (Mike Starr) runs the family deli for vinegary mom Vincenza (Judith Malina),...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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The cameos keep coming and coming: David Johansen, Ice T, Iman, Heavy D, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Shirley Stoler, Burt Young... you can only wonder what favors they were discharging by appearing in this witless, painfully unfunny slice-of-life comedy.

Lovable loser Johnny Amico (Mike Starr) runs the family deli for vinegary mom Vincenza (Judith Malina), with the help of slick ladies' man Andy (Matt Keesler) and village idiot Pinky (Brian Vincent). Unfortunately, Johnny is a compulsive gambler whose luck has just run out: He's into bookie Tommy

Tomatoes (Frank Vincent) for four grand; he pocketed the $10 he was supposed to bet on his mom's number, which has just payed off to the tune of $12,000; and he's supposed to cater a big party for local goodfella JC (Burt Young), but all his suppliers have cut him off for nonpayment of bills. His

last hope is to place a risky, all-or-nothing bet with Petey Cheesecake (Jerry Stiller): If he wins he can pay off his debts, but if he loses, the deli goes to Petey. The filmmakers deserve some credit for getting this loose, good-natured comedy made, let alone wringing professional-quality

production values out of what was no doubt a dauntingly low budget, but you can't help but wish they'd put all that energy into something else. Strenuously eccentric customers (including Iman as an avocado addict and David Johansen as an addled cabbie) wander in and out of the deli, and

Italian-American stereotypes are trotted out with no hint of irony: Debi Mazar and Heather Matarazzo as brassy sisters; Malina as overbearing mamma Amico; Frank Vincent, Young and Tony Sirico as small time wiseguys; Michael Imperioli and Victor Colicchio as dumb guidos; Law and Order's

Chris Noth as Sal the belligerent trash man; and, of course, Starr as the none-too-bright lug with a heart of marscapone. Not fresh, not funny, not worth paying to see.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The cameos keep coming and coming: David Johansen, Ice T, Iman, Heavy D, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Shirley Stoler, Burt Young... you can only wonder what favors they were discharging by appearing in this witless, painfully unfunny slice-of-life comedy.… (more)

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