The hottest comic in America, Sebastian Maniscalco joins forces with legendary Italian-American and two-time Oscar winner, Robert De Niro, in the new comedy ABOUT MY FATHER. The film centers around Sebastian (Maniscalco) who is encouraged by his fiancée (Leslie Bibb) to bring his immigrant, hairdresser father, Salvo (De Niro), to a weekend get-together with her super-rich and exceedingly eccentric family (Kim Cattrall, Anders Holm, Brett Dier, David Rasche). The weekend develops into what can only be described as a culture clash, leaving Sebastian and Salvo to discover that the great thing about family is everything about family.
The comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco first worked with Robert De Niro in Scoresese’s The Irishman, in a minor role as the gangster, Joey Gallo. In About My Father, loosely based on his own comic persona, Maniscalco is the lead and De Niro, even though he gets sole credit in the title, plays the second banana. In the movies, second bananas routinely upstage the leads, and here De Niro is doing it with gusto and Maniscalco’s approval.
This is a tale of the working shlub with upper class aspirations- Maniscalco is engaged to the daughter of a hotel magnate- who tries to blunt the rough edges of his goombah dad during their weekend at her parents’ estate.
It’s a richly detailed piece of character work. The exaggerated hand gestures and monosyllabic exasperations uttered build up the character one telling gesture and insightful phrase at a time. He’s honest but never cruel. David Rasche and Kim Cattral, as the rich parents, provide good comic foils that expose his strengths, vulnerabilities and his wisdom and ability to change for the betterment of his son’s future and to save their relationship. He’s playing a milder version of the Jake La Motta character from Raging Bull.
There are some jokes that fall flat and some scenes have a Hallmark route feel to them. The casts professionalism and its short 89 minute running time keep them to a minimum and out of sight out of mind quickly and without apology.
About My Father get a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+. It’s streaming on STARZ.
- Sebastian Maniscalco
- Austen Earl
Scott D. Hanson
Depth of Field
- May 26, 2023