Mamma Mia! (CREDIT: Bleecker Street)

Starring: Toni Collette, Monica Bellucci, Sophia Nomvete, Giulio Corso, Francesco Mastroianni, Alfonso Perugini, Eduardo Scarpetta, Tim Daish, Tommy Rodger

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Running Time: 101 Minutes

Rating: R for Screwy Violence and Awkwardly Self-Aware Sex

Release Date: April 14, 2023 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: Kristin (Toni Collette) is just your typical American suburban mom with a steady job at an ad agency who longs to live out her own version of Eat Pray Love. She hardly knows her birth country of Italy, but she gets a chance to finally visit when the grandfather she never knew passes away. And wouldn’t you know it, Grandpa was a godfather, and control of the family’s operations has now been inherited by none other than Kristin. Could it be that all she needs to experience a midlife renaissance is brokering a peace between warring mafia factions? She’s going to find out soon enough, because passions run hot in Calabria, and nobody has much patience for a silly American who just wants to eat pasta and hook up with random hotties.

What Made an Impression?: Mafia Mamma is an absolutely outrageous movie. Nobody seems to have any idea how to behave appropriately in the pressure-filled situations they find themselves in. Kristin reacts pretty much exactly the same when she walks in on her husband having sex with someone else as she does when being shot at during a funeral. Which is to say: general annoyance that just gets added to the list of grievances that make her midlife crisis. And then there’s the scene when her video work call gets interrupted by an assassin, and the ensuing tussle climaxes with a nice bloody close-up of a detached eyeball plopping along the floor. This could be amusing, but it’s all so blunt. The timing is just way off.

I would love to be able to say that I enjoyed this movie. How could anybody resist Toni Collette! And it’s always nice to see Catherine Hardwicke continuing to work, even if she’ll probably never direct anything as massive as Twilight ever again. But sometimes you just have to accept that the people you’re rooting for don’t quite accomplish what they’re trying to pull off. It can be tough to get a violent screwball formula just right, so there’s no reason to dwell on it when it doesn’t work out.

Mafia Mamma is Recommended If You Like: Shaming people for never having seen The Godfather

Grade: 2 out of 5 Gelatos