“My Big Gay Italian Wedding” (M) ***
ANTHONY J Wilkinson’s stage play, which director Alessandro Genovesi (aided by Giovanni Bognetti) adapted into the screenplay for this gentle, moderately humorous Italian-language movie, began slowly before finding fame and running 84 weeks in an off-Broadway theatre restaurant.
In Berlin, Antonio (Cristiano Caccamo) and Paolo (Salvatore Esposito) fall in love and decide to get married. Antonio wants to tie the knot in his home village of Civita di Bagnoregio. Accompanied by chums Benedetta (Diana Del Bufalo) and Donato (Dino Abbrescia) they head south to tell Antonio’s parents, father Roberto (Diego Abatantuono) and Anna (Monica Guerritore).
Although most of the interiors were not shot in Civita di Bagnoregio, it’s a pretty spectacular place, reachable only by a long, rising walkway to the top of a small mesa. There is no way that Roberto, the mayor with power to perform wedding ceremonies, is going to marry his only son to another man. Anna says that Antonio’s choice is okay by her – but only if the wedding meets her expectations and the town’s traditions: her favourite celebrity wedding planner oversees all the arrangements; Paolo’s estranged mother must attend; and Roberto performs the marriage.
Not surprisingly, the principal characters are Antonio’s parents, not him and Paolo. The film deals with rather more than the predictable issues arising from their responses to the news. Much of the comedy comes from Donato, the film’s clown. The traditions accompanying the theatre of marriage get a bit of a going over, especially from the self-serving wedding planner who’s joined at the hip to his camera crew.
There’s no sex, which doesn’t diminish from the film’s lightly-spoken support for gay marriage. The crises along the path to the ceremony are less obstacles to be overcome than opportunities for diversion of the dramatic flow to the comedy channel. And some may consider the closing dance number in the piazza in front of the church to be an awkward afterthought.
At Palace Electric