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flick pick | Big Night 1996
Directed by:
Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci
Written by: Joseph Tropiano, Stanley Tucci
Starring: Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci, Minnie Driver, Ian Holm, Isabella Rossellini
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: drama
Watch it when youíre in the mood for something:  nostalgic
The verdict: Ĺ / 5 the rating system explained

Plot synopsis Brothers Primo and Secondo run a failing Italian restaurant in 1950s America. Americans just donít get Primoís exquisite concoctions Ė theyíre looking for the familiarity of mediocre spaghetti and meatballs, not the sumptuous delights of a seafood risotto. While Secondo, the practical-minded, Americanized brother, scrambles around trying to find some way of salvaging their business, stubborn Primo continues to hold fast to his ideals: when it comes to creating food, he will not compromise to suit the bad tastes of potential customers. When Secondo goes to Pascal, the owner of the appallingly cheesy and enormously successful bar and restaurant across the street, in search of a loan, Pascal offers up an alternative instead: heíll call up his friend Louis Prima, the famous musician, and invite him to a specially-prepared dinner at Secondo and Primoís restaurant. Itís a chance to generate exactly the sort of buzz that the restaurant desperately needs. The brothers make frantic preparations to create the feast of a lifetime in one last-ditch attempt to save their place.

Review Big Night is one of those movies that just makes me go "Awwwwwww Ö." Itís warm and lovely and touchingly happy-sad; it leaves me drooling for a good meal, and missing my food-loving family immensely. My cousin once complained that the only thing our family does when we gather together is eat, but personally, Iíve always been thankful for that fact. Food as an expression of love and identity, eating as a celebration of family, friends and life Ö these, the central themes of Big Night, are themes with which anyone who truly loves good food can identify. Tony Shalhoub is very, very funny as the cantankerous Primo, and the contrast between his supreme confidence in the kitchen and his ineptitude when he steps out of his cozy little domain and attempts to ask out his florist friend is both painful and sweet. But itís Stanley Tucciís Secondo that steals your sympathies Ė his frustrations are palpable as he struggles to reconcile how much to compromise his integrity for the sake of financial solvency, to let go of his heritage to embrace his new culture, to give up who he is to become what others want him to be. The entire cast is stellar, the performances so natural that it barely seems like acting, and the food! The luscious, glistening food shots of the glorious final feast nearly steal the show.
reviewed by
Yee-Fan Sun 

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