The Reel Review
While in Rome for her estranged Italian grandfather’s funeral, a mild-mannered American stuck in a miserable marriage and a dead-end job is shocked to discover that her grandpa was the head of a major mafia family. And even more shocking – he named her to be his successor. Toni Collette and Monica Bellucci star in this screwball crime comedy.
Leaning into lots of silliness and a surprising amount of gore and violence, this goofy mashup of Under the Tuscan Sun and The Godfather showcases plenty of physical comedy and some pretty solid chemistry between Collette, as the extremely lucky and unlikely new mob donna, and Bellucci as her consigliere. Collette is hilarious as the clueless new crime boss, whose frequent stumbles through freak accidents inadvertently gives her the reputation of being a total badass.
Despite a few moments of uneven pacing and a predictable story, director Katherine Hardwicke (Miss Bala, Thirteen) still makes the most of the gleefully goofy premise, with quick pacing and plenty of laughs. Is Mafia Mamma a comic masterpiece? Not by a long shot. But the evolution of Collette’s character, combined with the cute comedy’s abundance of Italian food, architecture and fashion, makes for a fun two-hour escape to Rome.
• Mafia Mamma is a reunion for Toni Collette and director Katherine Hardwicke, who worked together on the 2015 romantic dramedy Miss You Already.
• Director Katherine Hardwicke is best known for the popular 2008 romantic horror, Twilight, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Her 2003 coming-of-age drama, Thirteen, which starred Rachel Evan Wood as a teenager discovering drugs, sex and petty crime, still continues to capture young audiences (1.3 billion engagements on TikTok).
• Former Dolce & Gabbana, Cartier and Dior model Monica Bellucci (Malena, Kill Bill) earned the distinction of becoming the 007 spy franchise’s oldest Bond girl, when she appeared in 2015’s Spectre at the age of 50.
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