With a title like MAFIA MAMMA, I would hope you are going into this movie expecting a goofy comedy… and not anticipating the next GOODFELLAS. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the film stars one of my favorite actresses, the always amazing Toni Collette, and Monica Bellucci in a departure from her traditional serious roles. I love that the film leans into the campy comedy, never taking itself too seriously. And while MAFIA MAMMA isn’t going to be winning any awards, I still had a lot of fun with it, even when some scenes went a little too far in the realm of the silly.
Kristin (Collette) has a lot on her shoulders. She is depressed in her job, upset that her son is leaving for college, and finds out that her husband is cheating on her… all in the matter of a week. So when she discovers her long lost grandfather has died and she is expected to attend his funeral, Kristin decides to Eat Pray Love her way to Italy. However, any notions of an idyllic trip to Italy are quickly shattered when a gun fight breaks out at the funeral and Kristin learns that her grandfather was actually the leader of a powerful Mafia family. And believe it or not, he requested she be the one to take leadership over the family should he die. But Kristin has a lot to learn and is going to have to lean on Bianca (Bellucci), a trusted senior member of the “family,” to teach her the ropes… if she can survive internal power grabs from family members, external threats from other local Mafia families, and of course the looming threat from Italian security forces.
Besides MAFIA MAMMA having some hilarious slapstick moments, which made me laugh out loud (a feat that is much harder to do when you’re watching at home on your couch), it looked like it was so much fun to film. And those vibes completely rubbed off on me as I was watching. The cinematography and scenery also acts as an advertisement for traveling to Italy, minus the whole Mafia element, and made me want to book a ticket immediately. Collette has said in multiple interviews that this was one of the best times she has had making a movie and it totally shows. And that ability to lean into the camp helped make up for the movies more :ahem: silly moments.
Toni Collette can do no wrong in my eyes, and I was so excited for her to star in another fun comedy like one of my all-time favorite movies of hers, CONNIE AND CARLA. We have seen Collette star in some real doozies recently, from HEREDITARY to THE STAIRCASE to NIGHTMARE ALLEY, and I am glad she is finally getting a role where she can rough people up while sipping wine from an Italian villa. As one of our greatest actors, who has the widest range and most diverse filmography of pretty much anyone in Hollywood, she deserves it. I also love that the film gave Monica Bellucci the opportunity to show her comedic side, as opposed to the serious roles she normally takes on. This film truly is a showcase for two of our great female talents, and the fact it is shot by a female director makes it even more perfect.
As I said, this movie is not going to win any awards and probably is not going to do too well on Rotten Tomatoes. And some of you reading this review may turn on the film and wonder what I was smoking when I was watching this to be giving it a positive review. Is it silly? Hell yes. Is it stupid? Even more so. Did it make me cringe sometimes? Absolutely. But if you are in the right mindset to turn off your brain and laugh at one of the best actresses working today having the time of her life tearing up Italy, this movie is for you. I imagine a lot of people are going to find this film when they are scrolling for movies to watch on an airplane or see the poster as a promising selection on a streaming service or movie channel. And hopefully you will get a bit of a kick out of it like I did.
My Review: B-