About My Father splats with critics

About My FAther
(Courtesy Lionsgate)

New comedy About My Father opens in theaters this Friday. It stars popular comic Sebastian Maniscalco and legendary actor Robert DeNiro.

In the film, Sebastian (Maniscalco) 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. Watch the trailer below:


The trailer looks fun, but trailers can also be deceiving. Right now, About My Father sits at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics have not been kind. The RT consensus says, ” About My Father finds star/co-writer Sebastian Maniscalco drawing on his own life for material — and inadvertently proving that a funny standup routine doesn’t necessarily make for an entertaining film. Here is a sampling:

Rafer Guzman of Newsday says: “Transparently formulaic and contrived, drawing its humor from inexplicable behavior and unlikely mishaps rather than real human interaction.”

Gary Goldstein at the LA Times didn’t like it much more: “This at times absurdly contrived film often resembles something made up on the fly.”

On the East Coast, The New York Times‘ Glenn Kenny felt the same: “The movie demonstrates how quickly ‘amiable and inconsequential’ can shift to ‘hackneyed and labored.’”

Annie Banks over at Chuck Full of Comics was baffled by Lionsgate’s decision to release the film over Memorial Day Weekend: “It’s a surprise that Lionsgate gambled on such a disappointment for their Memorial Day Weekend release. By the time About My Father wraps itself up, you’ll be more than about ready to leave the theater.”

Adam Graham at The Detroit News wasn’t happy about the film either: “There are some light laughs, mostly courtesy of De Niro, but he’s not trying any harder than he needs to. Neither is About My Father, which will be lucky to not be forgotten by Father’s Day.”

Not everyone was so harsh on the film. The Washington Post’s Michael O’Sullivan said, “This a sweet, mostly cute story about the importance of the people we’re related to, peppered with some fairly broad and not especially hilarious yuks.”

Jude Dry at IndieWire also enjoyed the film, giving it an 8/10. “Secure in his standing as a marquis comedian, Maniscalco makes movies like a guy with nothing to prove, and his confidence buoys and brightens About My Father.”

Todd Gilchrist at Variety also seemed to really enjoy the film: “Whether or not Maniscalco has a legitimate future as a movie star, he proves a likable presence as a romantic lead, while director Laura Terruso skillfully delivers comedic payoffs that tap into his wheelhouse while introducing him to a wider audience.”

The film is directed by Laura Terruso (Good Girls Get High). Will you be seeing About My Father this weekend?

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