Big Night - * * *

Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci join to direct Big Night, this rousing salute to great food and the dream of two immigrant brothers. Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci) are brothers who run a struggling Italian restaurant. Primo is a spectacular chef who views his cooking as art, and can’t understand how the typical American can be so vulgar as to prefer a side of spaghetti with a dish of risotto! Secondo is more business-minded, and dreams of the success achieved by Pascal (Ian Holm), owner of the successful restaurant across the street. Pascal’s heart goes out to the brothers, and he manages to arrange for legendary jazz artist Louis Prima to visit the brother’s restaurant in a last gasp to stay afloat. The meals and dishes prepared in this film are enough to make an anorexic’s mouth water. The exquisite artistry involved it their creation pales next to the sheer joy expressed in their consumption. Stanley Tucci’s Secondo is a mostly sympathetic character, who dreams of success through the talent of his brother, but is also restrained by the same brother’s stubbornness. His relationships with the women in the film, Phyllis (Minnie Driver) and Gabriella (Isabella Rossellini) are never developed to a full extent. The film is a bit slow paced, but it derives such a great joy from its subject matter that you can’t help but walk out craving a great meal.

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