The comedy adventure film “Mafia Mamma” begins at the M.V. Film Center on Friday, April 14. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Toni Collette plays Kristin Jordan, an ordinary American woman who inherits, of all things, the Balbano mafia empire from her grandfather, Don Giuseppe Balbano (Alessandro Bressanello).
Born in Calabria, Italy, as a member of the Balbano family, Kristin has moved to the U.S. with her mother after her father is murdered in the mafia wars. It turns out she’s the last member of this mafia family, which is why she’s chosen by her grandfather to head it.
The catch is that she’s a simple middle-class American. The viewer meets her as she says a distressed goodbye to her son Domenick (Tommy Rodger), who’s heading to college in Oregon.
On top of that, as a pharmaceutical marketer, she’s demoted by her sexist boss. The third example illustrating the problems she suffers from is that she discovers her husband Paul (Tim Daish) is cheating on her, with no less than the guidance counselor from Domenick’s high school.
Her friend, lawyer Jenny (Sophia Nomvete), encourages her in graphic language to take a vacation in Italy. Off she goes, landing at the airport and meeting attractive Lorenzo (Giulio Corso), with whom she soon carries on an affair, after not having sex with her husband for three years. Note by the way, that most of the actors are Italian.
She also meets prosthetic-legged Bianca (Monica Bellucci), who is the Baldanos’ consigliere, and has called to inform Kristin of her grandfather’s death. Once in Italy, she attends her grandfather’s funeral, where a violent gunfight breaks out between the Baldanos and the rival mafia clan the Romanos. Two low-level, goofy members of the Baldano family, Dante (Alfonso Perugini) and Aldano (Francesco Mastroianni), are assigned as Kristin’s bodyguards.
In one of the comic clichés, Kristin and Bianca are shown crushing grapes with their bare feet. Another regular joke is the references to the movie “The Godfather,” which Kristin claims not to have seen. In the meantime, Kristin comes into her own, accidentally killing the head of the rival Romano family by switching a poisoned glass intended for her.
Next she retaliates against a Romano assassin, using her stiletto heels as a lethal weapon. Still, Kristin insists on her desire to quit as head of the Baldano clan and return to being a simple American woman. Instead, she uses her marketing skills to develop a successful winemaking business.
The jokes continue, with Kristin asserting herself as an independent woman. Oscar nominee Collette is the talented actor who makes this comedy adventure work.
Information and tickets for “Mafia Mamma” are available at mvfilmsociety.com.