Tuesday, 1 June 2010


Anchor Bay Films
Now Showing

Like every family, especially those in American indie films, the Rizzos are dysfunctional. Which is to say, like every family, real or imagined, they have their problems, issues and, in this instance, a lot of secrets.

Rizzo patriarch, Vince (Andy Garcia), a corrections facility officer, harbours a dream of being an actor. But so ridiculous does this seem that he tells his wife that he's playing poker once a week when he's actually attending acting class. Joyce (Julianna Margulies), of course, believes he is having an affair.

Joyce's only secret seems to be that she (like everyone in the family, kids included), smokes. But then Vince brings home an inmate from work, supposedly to build a second bathroom, and she begins to contemplate a bit of extramarital tit-for-tat with the convict. He's Tony Nardella (Steven Strait), who unbeknown to everyone is Vince's son from an adolescent dalliance.

Then there's the younger Rizzos: Vivian (Dominik Garcia-Lorido), whom everyone believes is at college but is working as a stripper after losing her scholarship; and Vince jnr (Ezra Miller), a smart ass with a predilection for overweight women.

All of these secrets will eventually be revealed but writer-director Raymond De Felitta takes a leisurely route in getting there. City Island is not an hilarious, laugh-out loud comedy but one which observes the humour which arises from everyday family life, if a little heightened.

Andy Garcia anchors the film wonderfully, relishing his best role in years, while Margulies is more animated here than in the entire first season of TV's The Good Wife. Good, too, is Emily Mortimer (currently seen in Harry Brown) as Vince's acting class partner with secrets of her own. Not quite Little Miss Sunshine but a family you'll enjoy getting to know.

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