Mambo Italiano 2003

This was the official website ofr the 2003 Canadian movie, Mambo Italiano.
The content is from the site's archived pages as well as from other sources.

How do you explain to your Italian immigrant parents that their quest to find you a nice Italian-Canadian girl is doomed to failure, because you’ve already found a nice Italian-Canadian boy? This is the question facing the protagonist in Mambo Italiano, a Canadian film based on the play of the same name. When Angelo decides it’s time to move in with his policeman boyfriend, he must break the news to his parents, who are naturally none to happy to find out their son is gay. And since Mambo Italiano is a comedy, hilarity, hopefully, ensues. Mambo Italiano is set for a limited release beginning September 19, 2003. The project sounds like a lighthearted look at the joys and tribulations of being part of a large family that also addresses some very real issues, albeit in a humorous fashion. While the film may not appeal to everyone, it does seem to be one of those films that will be “discovered” once it reaches the home video market, and if the film delivers on the promise of its premise, could become quite the niche hit. (Stephanie Star Smith/BOP)

Maria and Gino (GINETTE RENO and PAUL SORVINO), emigrated from Italy to Montreal in the 50's and married after their arrival in "the new world", a world they still haven't quite gotten used to. Their world is shattered when their son, Angelo (LUKE KIRBY), decides to get a place of his own. "What is so wrong with living with your parents until you get married?" they ask. They are relieved however, when Angelo's childhood buddy, Nino (PETER MILLER), decides to move in with their son. After all, Nino is an old family friend and he's a respectable cop. Their relief is short lived, as they find out that Nino and Angelo are much more than mere roommates-they're (gasp) lovers! All hell breaks loose (Italian-style, of course!) Horror is followed by a general outcry, disbelief is followed by indignation, the battlefield is cleared, and "tutta la famiglia" goes to war!

Will Angelo and Nino be able to resist the gargantuan pressure coming at them from all sides and find the strength to survive as a couple? Will Nino be able to withstand the seductive charms of the voluptuous Pina? Will Angelo find the courage to fully come out of the closet and confront the whole of them while he accepts himself?

Mambo Italiano is hysterically funny and deeply moving. Adapted from the successful play by the same name, the movie explores further the subtleties and complexities of this quintessential Italian family-a family straddling the cultures, traditions, and mores of the old and new worlds.


Ginette Reno
Born Ginette Raynault on April 28, 1946, Ginette Reno, as a young girl, would sell newspapers to pay for her singing lessons by attracting the customers with lively renditions of her favorite songs. When she recorded her debut, self-titled album in 1962, it became an instant best seller. Over the next four decades, she added another five-dozen hit albums to her canon, and became as big a star in France as she was, and is, in Canada. Ginette's overcrowded trophy shelf boasts three Juno awards, four Métrostar awards, and eight ADISQ awards. In 1982, at age 36, she became the youngest artist ever to be named to the Order of Canada. In 1991, Ginette showed dexterity by transferring her skills to acting in film and television. Lauded for her remarkable work in director Jean-Claude Lauzon's LÉOLO; she has subsequently starred in the top-rated mini-series "Million Dollar Babies" and "Une Voix en or." In 1999 she earned a Genie nomination for her uninhibited performance in the successful C'T'À TON TOUR, LAURA CADIEUX (IT'S YOUR TURN, LAURA), directed by Denise Filiatrault.

Paul Sorvino
Veteran actor Paul Sorvino He has recently completed production for the dark comedy THE COOLER, alongside William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin. He has also completed the film PLAN B with Diane Keaton, and the film PERFUME with Jeff Goldblum, Omar Epps, Rita Wilson and Peter Gallagher. He has appeared in more than 80 films, including WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO AND JULIET, NIXON, THE FIRM, GOODFELLAS, DICK TRACY, REDS, SLOW DANCING IN THE BIG CITY, OH GOD, THE BRINKS JOB, MONEY TALKS and BULWORTH. On television, he has starred in the award-winning NBC series "Law and Order" as well as the CBS drama "That's Life," opposite Ellen Burstyn. Sorvino has also branched-out to showcase some other talents. He made his directorial debut with Showtime's "The Championship Season," in which he starred and wrote some of the musical score. An accomplished tenor, Sorvino sang the role of Alfred in Die Fledermaus with the Seattle Opera Company and has recorded three CD's. He is the founder of the Sorvino Children's Asthma Foundation, and regularly does operatic concerts on behalf of his organization. Sorvino is also the author of How to Become a Former Asthmatic, published by William Morrow.

Luke Kirby
Luke Kirby has been busy performing in theatre, films, and TV since his teenage years. He attended the respected National Theatre School of Canada. After which, found himself working simultaneously on two separate projects in major roles, the CBS/Alliance miniseries "Haven" and director Léa Pool's feature LOST AND DELIRIOUS. His performance in Geometry in Venice garnered him a nomination for Best Actor at the Dora Mavor Moore Awards. And he starred in Shakespeare's bloody Troilus and Cressida, directed by Sir Peter Hall in New York, Judith Thompson's premiere of Habitat, and Daniel Brook's The Good Life. He can be seen in the recently released horror feature HALLOWEEN 8: RESURRECTION opposite Jamie Lee Curtis. During the summer of 2002, Luke shot the lead role in Peter Wellington's feature, LUCK, and special role that was written for him in the feature film SHATTERED GLASS, produced by Cruise/Wagner.

Sophie Lorain
Sophie Lorain first studied acting at the prestigious Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in England, followed by a stint at the Théâtre Français de Toronto. Since then, she has participated in some of Quebec television's most memorable moments, playing in "Scoop," "Omertà I and II" - for which she won Métrostar's prize for best actress and a Gemini for best support - and, finally, "Fortier," incarnating a troubled criminal psychologist with a dark past. Perfectly bilingual, she acted in the 1998 thriller IN SELF-DEFENCE, directed by Sidney J. Furie. Two years later as a prim and proper English madame - complete with perfectly accented London English - in the Sherlock Holmes period piece, "The Sign of Four" by Rodney Gibbons. In 2001, Sophie was offered her first starring role in a feature film when she played in Denise Filiatrault's L'ODYSSÉE D'ALICE TREMBLAY (ALICE'S ODYSSEY), a sweet and touching comedy that plunged the viewer into the enchanted world of fairytales and fairies.

Claudia Ferri
Claudia Ferri made her debut in a 1988 commercial directed by the late great Jean-Claude Lauzon (LÉOLO) before moving to Vancouver and acting in a number of prominent television series. Her chameleon-like ability to assume different characters landed her roles in such diverse films as HARD CORE LOGO by Bruce McDonald, THE ASSIGNMENT by Christian Duguay (opposite Aidan Quinn, Donald Sutherland and Ben Kingsley), and STARDOM by Denys Arcand, where she played the betrayed wife of Dan Akroyd. She also had a hard-hitting, recurring role in the award-winning television series "Omertà II and III." Lately, Claudia has acted in two award-winning short films, SOOTHER and KILLING TIME, and has appeared in SNOW IN AUGUST alongside Stephan Rea. She can also be seen in VIVA LA FRIDA!, a docudrama based on the life of the fiery Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

Peter Miller
Peter Miller was born in Chibougamau, Quebec to a French-speaking mother and English-speaking father with Irish roots. He spent a part of his youth growing up in the Bahamas before moving to Ontario and then back to Quebec to spend his adolescence in Montreal. Although in love with the stage, Peter was determined to break into film and television, and so when he was offered a role as Adrian Paul's double on the television series Highlander IV, he accepted. He was right to do so. The role led to bigger things and soon, he landed a role in the hit show "Law and Order," followed by his biggest break to date as Mike Ludano, a recurring character in the immensely successful series "Lance et Compte: Nouvelle Generation." In 2001, he played the character of Salvatore in the gritty biker drama "The Last Chapter."

Mary Walsh
From "Codco" to the popular series "This Hour Has 22 Minutes", Mary Walsh's roles have revealed her hilarious Newfoundland talent and have earned her critical acclaim and numerous awards. Mary has been busy hosting her new series "Mary Walsh: Open Book," a literary talk show airing on CBC Television as well as acting for the big screen in VIOLET, THE DIVINE RYANS alongside Pete Postlethwaite, NEW WATERFORD GIRL, which made its American debut at the Sundance Film Festival, and EXTRAORDINARY VISITOR opposite Andy Jones. Most recently, she starred in the highly rated television mini-series "Random Passage" and "Bleacher Bums" co-starring Wayne Knight and Maury Chaykin, and in the award winning "Major Crime" with Michael Moriarty.




"Mambo Italiano deftly mixes comedy and substance while dealing with the difficulties that gay lovers face in their relationship." By Kevin Thomas, Times Staff Writer

"Mambo Italiano deftly mixes comedy and substance while dealing with the difficulties that gay lovers face in their relationship."
By Kevin Thomas, Times Staff Writer

Check local listings for theatres and showtimes.

A spicy comedy with plenty of sauce.
- Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today

Paul Sorvino is hilarious!
- Jeffrey Lyons, NBC

One of the year's best little movies - because it has a very big heart!
- Clay Smith, Access Hollywood.

You don't have to be gay or Italian or live in Canada to enjoy Mambo Italiano!
- Lou Lumenick, NY Post

Mambo Italiano has audiences rolling!
- Kendis Gibson,

One of the funniest films of the year!
- Mike Szymanski, Tribune Media

Refreshing, feel-good filmmaking. Hearty Italian fare!
- Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly

Rotten Tomatoes Reviews

Roger Ebert
October 17, 2003

In "Mambo Italiano," which we can refer to for convenience as "My Big Fat Gay Wedding," the hero's Italian-Canadian parents grade sex for their son as follows: (1) No sex at all is best -- just stay here at home with us; (2) If you must have sex, have it with a nice Italian girl; (3) If you get engaged to a non-Italian we'll kill you, but (4) If you become a homosexual, we will first die of mortification and then kill you, and (5) No points for having gay sex with an Italian boy, because no Italian boy has ever been gay, except for you, and you're not really gay anyway, you just haven't met the right girl, and look, here she is.

The movie takes place in a colorfully romanticized version of the Petite Italie neighborhood in Montreal, where the neighbors line up beside their garden allotments like the chorus members in an opera, and anyone is likely to break into song. Of their Italian accents, let it be said that none clash with Dean Martin's version of the title song. And of course there is one family member who pretends she knows nothing about homosexuality just so she can drop big clanging questions in the middle of tense family situations.

The movie stars Luke Kirby, looking here like a skinny John Belushi, as Angelo Barbarini, teased since his childhood for being a sissy.

Now he is grown and still living at home, which is fine with his parents Maria (Ginette Reno) and Gino (Paul Sorvino). They nod approvingly at a neighbor's porch, where an elderly mother is still whacking her middle-aged son alongside the head. Angelo is growing increasingly desperate, and finally moves out, breaking the hearts of his parents, which are easily and frequently broken.

Love arrives unexpectedly. Nino Paventi (Peter Miller), one of the kids who picked on Angelo in school, has grown up to be a cop and a closeted gay man. They move in together, each one trying to keep his sexuality a secret, and then their families start churning, as families will, with matchmaking and awkward questions. Angelo has an ally in his sister Anna (Claudia Ferri), who is also quietly growing mad under the thumb of their parents. If they're told Angelo is gay, she says, "This is going to kill them." She pauses, and adds: "Tell them." Meanwhile, there's a concerted push by Nino's parents to fix him up with an eligible woman, Pina Lunetti (Sophie Lorain). The plot unfolds in basic sitcom style, with surprise revelations, sudden reversals, and very, very broad characterizations (Sorvino, an amateur opera singer, doesn't distinguish himself with under-acting). There are laughs in the movie, and a lot of good feeling, but it seems more interested in its Italian stereotypes than its gay insights, and it must be said there is absolutely no feeling that Angelo and Nino are really lovers. I don't know anything about the personal sexuality of these actors, but let it be said that in this movie they're straight.




Rachel M
** ½ January 6, 2014
if i knew it was a gay movie, i wouldn't watch it although i wanna open my mind and learn new things.

***** Fernando C
April 15, 2013
One of my all time faves!!!!

Alexander C
December 7, 2012
Could be worth a look interesting story there.

**** Rob S
November 19, 2012
a very unique love story

Robyn M
*** ½ August 3, 2012
Great,gay-licous,fantasic and hilarous.
This is a great family and gay movie. filmed in canada with some of the top great canadain house hold names. The movie is filled with a relaxed feel. Italian parents have a son 'Nino' who's stuck under his parents traditional values of whats right and wrong and your not moving until you marry. He moves anyway, with his long time best friend Angelo. Just when Nino's parents begin to accept the idea of Nino moving.

***** Lacy
June 30, 2012
A heartwarming and humorous tale unfolds in a romantic comedy that celebrates love and Italian culture, with endearing characters and a somewhat supportive family dynamic. The allure of Italian cuisine is vividly portrayed, enticing viewers to explore the culinary delights. Inspired by the film, a delightful Italian-themed picnic is planned for a July 4th celebration, where friends contribute to the festivity with various accompaniments. Adding to the charm, guests are encouraged to bring along their favorite pickleball equipment, integrating the joy of this popular sport into the gathering. As everyone convenes, pickleball bags are casually placed aside, symbolizing the union of community, sport, and shared meals. The movie "Mambo Italiano" serves as a wonderful catalyst for such gatherings, promising laughter and the creation of cherished memories.

Ahmed T
*** ½ April 22, 2012
very very very very fuuny :)

Bobby L. P
April 10, 2012
i thought that this movie was great and it was really cool. i liked watching it and it was cool. this movie was silly to me also.

Ahmed H
*** ½ March 28, 2012
very very very very fuuny :)

*** Julie D
March 25, 2012
hilarious and heartfelt a true lesson in being yourself and loving who you are and having faith that your family will do the same

*** Chris T
January 30, 2012
another underappreciated, great comedy

*** Naysha S
January 20, 2012
The movie is funny and have an incredible way of expressing the conflict between traditions and society evolution. I love it


Mambo Italiano Opens...

Opens in NY, LA & San Francisco on September 19, 2003

Release Date: September 26, 2003 Limited release

AMC Bay Street 16 - Emeryville, CA
AMC Media Cntr 8 Thtr - Burbank, CA
Brooklyn Heights Cinema - Brooklyn, NY
Camera 3 - San Jose, CA
CENT Century 20 Daly City - Daly City, CA
CENT Century 25 @ Union Landing - Union City, CA
CENT Century 25 Twin - San Jose, CA
CENT Century Cinema 16 - Mountain View, CA
CENT Century Park 12 - Redwood City, CA
CENT Century Ventura Downtown 10 - Ventura, CA
CENT Cine Arts 5 - Pleasant Hill, CA
CENT Great Mall 20 - Milpitas, CA
CENT Northgate Cinema 16 - San Rafael, CA
CLVW Bronxville Triplex - Bronxville, NY
CLVW Chelsea Cinema 9 - New York, NY
CLVW Cinema 100 - White Plains, NY
CLVW Clairidge Cinemas - Montclair, NJ
CLVW Manhasset Theater - Manhasset, NY
CLVW Strathmore Art Cinema - Aberdeen, NJ
CLVW Tenafly Cinema 4 - Tenafly, NJ
CLVW Washington Township - Washington Township, NJ
CTY Angelika Film Center - New York, NY
EDWD University 6 - Irvine, CA
ESP Rialto Cinemas Lakeside - Santa Rosa, CA
Garden Cinema 1&2 - Norwalk, CT
LAEM Fallbrook Cinema 7 - West Hills, CA
LAEM Sunset 5 - Los Angeles, CA
LAEM Town Center 5 (Town & Country) - Encino, CA
LAEM Westlake Theater - Westlake Village, CA
LAND Embarcadero Center Cinema - San Francisco, CA
LAND Shattuck Cinemas - Berkeley, CA
LAND Westside Pavilion Cinemas - Los Angeles, CA
LOEW Lincoln Square 12 - New York, NY
LOEW Palisades Center - West Nyack, NY
LOEW Roosevelt Raceway - Westbury, NY
LTS New York Twin - New York, NY
LTS Cobble Hill Cinema - Brooklyn, NY
LTS Kew Gardens Cinemas - Kew Gardens, NY
LTS Malverne Cinema - Malverne, NY
LTS Maplewood Sixplex - Maplewood, NJ
MANN Rancho Niguel 8 - Laguna Niguel, CA
Montgomery Cinemas - Rocky Hill, NJ
PACF Manhattan Village 6 - Manhattan Beach, CA
PACF Pacific Northridge - Northridge, CA
PACF Paseo Stadium 14 - Pasadena, CA
UA Marketplace 6 - Long Beach, CA
UA Movies Staten Isl.14 (Travis) - Staten Island, NY
UA South Hampton 4 - South Hampton, NY

AMC Empire 25 - New York, NY
LAEM Camelot 3 Theatre - Palm Springs, CA
MET Plaza Del Oro - Santa Barbara, CA
Palm Theater - San Luis Obispo, CA
York Square Cinema 1-2-3 - New Haven, CT
CLVW Emerson Cinema 4 - Emerson, NJ
LTS Madison Arts Cinemas - Madison, CT
PACF Winnetka 20 - Chatsworth, CA
UA Farmingdale 10 - Farmingdale, NY

CFLM West Newton Cinemas - West Newton, MA
CTY Angelika Dallas - Dallas, TX
CTY Angelika Houston - Houston, TX
LAND Greenway 3 - Houston, TX
LAND Kendall Square - Cambridge, MA
LAND Lagoon Cinema - Minneapolis, MN
LAND Main Art Theater - Royal Oak, MI
LAND Mayan Theatre - Denver, CO
LAND Metro Cinemas 10 - Seattle, WA
LAND Midtown Art Cinema - Atlanta, GA
LOCP Meridian Cinemas - Seattle, WA
Nickelodeon Theaters - Santa Cruz, CA
Ritz 16 - Voorhees, NJ
Ritz 5 Movies - Philadelphia, PA

Avon Theatre - Providence, RI
Cape Cin Thtr - Dennis, MA
REGL Arbor Cinema - Austin, TX

Academy Of Music - Northampton, MA
Charles Theatre - Baltimore, MD
LAND Century Center Cinemas - Chicago, IL
LAND Oriental 3 Theatre - Milwaukee, WI
LOEW Esquire Theater - Chicago, IL
New Art Cinema - Provincetown, MA
Triplex - Great Barrington, MA

Movies at the Midway - Rehobeth Beach, DE

Wheeler Opera House - Aspen, CO

Movie City Cinema - Bangor, ME