Ray Romano and Laurie Metcalfe in "Somewhere in Queens" review - The Hollywood Reporter

Ray Romano and Laurie Metcalfe in “Somewhere in Queens” review – The Hollywood Reporter

The Palace of Versailles – not the historic residence near Paris – is one of those places. As you know, a dazzling hall for rent to celebrate weddings, affirmations and any rites of passage that require dinner and a DJ. For Italian American New Yorkers in Somewhere in QueensIt’s not just a place but a way of life, whether it’s a necessary common ground or a soulful joke. As the movie’s title suggests, the film has generic genres, but the clever writing, uninhibited directing, and great cast give the emotional—but not flowing—comedy-drama messy details and narrative friction to elevate it beyond that. .

Working through a screenplay he wrote with Mark Stegman, Ray Romano takes his first feature with emphasis, concerned not with stamping material in big cinematic style but with capturing its essence, drawing great performances from seasoned professionals and newcomers alike. He plays Leo Russo, a nice guy next door to drinking. He was married to his high school sweetheart (Laurie Metcalf) for many years and spent his entire adulthood at the construction company owned by his male father (Tony Lo Bianco). His son (Jacob Ward) is about to graduate from high school and enter the family business. When we first saw Leo, he was with the extended clan at the Palace of Versailles, where he was slandered by the wedding videographer as well as just about everyone at his table.

Somewhere in Queens

bottom line

Shoot and score.

place: Tribeca Film Festival (Story in the Spotlight)

spit: Ray Romano, Laurie Metcalfe, Tony Lo Bianco, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jennifer Esposito, Jacob Ward, Sadie Stanley, Deirdre Friel, John Manfrelotti

Director: Ray Romano

Script book: Ray Romano and Mark Stegman

1 hour 46 minutes

While working at Russo Construction, Frank (Sebastian Maniscalco), an overbearing Leo, throws his weights as a foreman, while Betty (John Manfrlotti) knows his sympathetic friend and co-worker how to reduce stress. Leo can’t communicate with his father and mistakenly believes that the lines of communication are wide open with his 18-year-old son, Matthew, aka Sticks, the star of his school’s basketball team. He is looking forward to seeing Sticks, who inherited Leo’s disappointment, in a heroic position on the court. “It’s different there,” Leo assures his father, who listens but doesn’t get it.

When the opportunity arises for a basketball scholarship to college in Philadelphia, Leo is more excited than his son, and certainly more than his wife, Angela, a tough cookie who tends to be angry and suspicious as well as practical and wise, and who is still struggling with unexplored fears Only a few years after you had surgery and chemotherapy for breast cancer. Leo and Angela are stunned when they find out that Sticks has a girlfriend, but while Leo is a bit fascinated by Danielle (Sadi Stanley), a skeptical Angela takes on an instant dislike for her.

The chemistry between Ward and Stanley is sweet and powerful, generating compelling sparks between Sticks’ impressive awkwardness and Danielle’s experience. Bold and talkative, she makes an impression on the bustling table of the usual Sunday afternoon Russian dinner, as Mama Russo (John Gable) urges “Mangia Totti!” And loving insults fly fast and furious, especially between Frank and Sister Rosa (Deirdre Friel, physical), he is single and still lives with people.

At the same time as his son is experiencing the pangs of first love, Leo feels seen in a way he hasn’t seen in years, thanks to the flirtatious attention of a widowed client, Pamela (Jennifer Esposito, Pitch Perfect). As the story progresses, it shifts toward the way parents can project their own hopes and dreams onto their children, culminating in a trick Leo leads in an amazing and astounding fashion that is destined to explode in his face.

From the first moment to the last, screenplay by Romano and Stegman, who worked together on the TNT series Men of a certain agecaptures the way people talk, from “lack of concern” to sage humor, from the way Danielle quickly points out that she’s not from the “premium part” of Forest Hills gardens to Leo’s exhausting habit of quoting from rocky.

In this story about midlife accounts and adolescent awakening, there are plenty of selfish moments dressed as solace. Almost everyone makes mistakes, almost everyone means good, and no one is just one thing or the other. Just as design by Annie Simeone Morales and Megan Stark Evans never declared themselves, photographer Maceo Bishop and editor Robert Nassau are natural and unobtrusive. Whether the focus is on a conversation in the car, the meltdown at the doctor’s office, the thrill of the basketball court or the personal drama in the stands, everything in the movie makes the characters shine — and there’s no one who doesn’t.

Led by Romano and Metcalfe, with their unwavering talent for playing “ordinary” people, the band finds the characters’ pulsating and nervous hearts. No one gets away with it, and everyone learns a thing or two. Some lessons are harsh, but tempered by Romano’s fondness for characters. The most predictable and obvious thing about the movie is the way it contrasts favorably with the well-meaning Leo and his big, annoying family with Daniel’s cold, absent, and wealthy parents.

As a native of Forest Hills (not the parks, and certainly not the premium part), I wonder about the title of the movie. People from Brooklyn might say they’re from Brooklyn, but I’ve always known people from Queens to say they’re from Jamaica, Middle Village, Long Island City, or Astoria. Romano mostly avoids location specifics, although anyone familiar with the city will recognize the general setting of the Roussos epic. Perhaps this mystery “somewhere” is the bosom, the universal palace of the mind at Versailles: gather here to celebrate the landmarks, play your designated role and know where you belong – until one thing appears and another looms.

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