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Whole Shebang
     

The Whole Shebang

4.0 1
Director: George Zaloom

Cast: Stanley Tucci, Bridget Fonda, Giancarlo Giannini

 
Documentary filmmaker George Zaloom takes his first stab at fiction with this comedy about a family dominated both literally and figuratively by explosive personalities. Pop Bazinni (Giancarlo Gianini) is an Italian expatriate who runs his family's fireworks business in New Jersey. After his son dies in a explosion in a storage shed, Pop needs a new second in command,

Overview

Documentary filmmaker George Zaloom takes his first stab at fiction with this comedy about a family dominated both literally and figuratively by explosive personalities. Pop Bazinni (Giancarlo Gianini) is an Italian expatriate who runs his family's fireworks business in New Jersey. After his son dies in a explosion in a storage shed, Pop needs a new second in command, and his cousin, Giovanni (Stanley Tucci), is sent from Italy to help with the business, though Giovanni was chosen less for his business acumen than because he needed a change of scenery after a messy breakup with his girlfriend, Maria (Jo Champa), has left him horribly depressed. As Giovanni learns the ropes of both the fireworks business and life in America, Val (Bridget Fonda), the young widow of Pop's late son, finds herself the focus of the loutish romantic advances of Joey Zito (Anthony DeSando), whose mother (Anna Maria Alberghetti) runs a rival fireworks company eager to find out the secret formulas behind the Bazinni's products. Talia Shire and Alexander Milani head up the film's supporting cast.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/26/2005
UPC:
0026359275128
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
NR
Source:
Hbo Home Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:37:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Sparks Flying [5:34]
2. The Funeral [:43]
3. A Real Bazinni [7:42]
4. Neptune [:17]
5. Sign Language [7:42]
6. Road Flares [1:22]
7. The Breakdown [8:15]
8. The Perfect Blue [:18]
9. The Proposal [6:11]
10. Last Breath [1:30]
11. The Wake [6:03]
12. Naples [2:15]
13. Credits [6:35]

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The Whole Shebang 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The HBO-produced "Whole Shebang" is a light comedy that not only features Stanley Tucci in yet another marvelous performance, but also shows that when the roots of familiar stereotypes are actually shown and explored, the results strengthen the work, rather than seeming hackneyed or insulting. The film opens with a good-looking, but unnamed young man working on what at first appears to be a cooking demonstration gone mad. As we come to realize that he is mixing up fireworks and not a play-dough meatloaf, he is interrupted by an unnamed female whose fevered attentions are those unfortunately limited to only new girlfriends and illicit lovers. Sadly, as the sparks fly the whole place explodes in a powerful display of pyrotechnics and the lovers go boom. It is only in the aftermath that we learn that the lothario was "Frank Bazini, Jr.," and yes, he was cheating on his wife with a local strumpet. The Bazini family has been making fireworks for generations, we learn, and the family patriarch decides to reach out to the clan in the old country for a new heir for his crumbling empire. It is at this point that the film's genius begins to come forth, for we are transported to Naples, where we meet Giovanni (Tucci) a touching, lovable loser who can't even commit suicide successfully. Naples holding no promise of any improvement in his fortunes anytime soon, Giovanni decamps to Neptune, New Jersey, to take up his new life and responsibilities. The scene where he meets his "new" family is priceless, made so by the viewer's dawning appreciation of the Neapolitan traditions that inform Giovanni's and the family's existence. For all those, especially viewers of Italian decent who are tired to death of Italians always being portrayed by Hollywood as either gangsters or buffoons, the link to those traditions provides the anchor that rescues this scene and much else from mere slapstick and turns it into an inspired comic touch. Similarly, when Giovanni coaches his nephew Bobby in the precise use of Neapolitan hand signs (and then tries to pay for their pizza with a 10,000 lira bill), it is the link to his deeply held and cherished roots that makes the scene work. The rest of the movie is pretty much standard Hollywood feel-good fare. Boy (Giovanni) meets girl (Frank, Jr's non-Italian widow, Val), boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again. Woven through this familiar terrain is the equally familiar subplot of the evil Zito clan which covets the Bazini's secret family fireworks recipes. Needless to say, by the movie's end the Zitos are vanquished, the Bazinis win, and everyone lives happily ever after. While the entire cast is to be commended, it is Tucci who makes this film work. With toupee and moustache, he appears for all the world like a gentle clone of the late Peter Sellers, and he plays the role perfectly. It may be Tucci's lot in life to either spend his career in supporting roles or in the lead in small films that few ever see. But he is a marvelous actor who one day will be recognized for his talents. This film and this performance are further evidence that Tucci is a rare talent, and we are all the richer for his "being there."