(director: Norman Jewison; screenwriter: John Patrick Shanley; cinematographer: Davis Watkin; editor: Lou Lombardo; music: Dick Hyman; cast: Cher (Loretta Castorini), Nicolas Cage (Ronny Cammareri), Danny Aiello (Johnny Cammereri), Olympia Dukakis (Rose Castorini), Vincent Gardenia (Cosmo Castorini), Julie Bovasso (Rita Capomagi), Anita Gillette (Mona), Louis Guss (Raymond Capomagi), John Mahoney (Perry); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Patrick Palmer/Norman Jewison; MGM; 1987)

“Nutty ethnic romantic drama about an Italian-American family.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Norman Jewison (“The Hurricane”/”In The Heat of the Night”) directs this nutty ethnic romantic drama about an Italian-American family. The Jewison film tells us we can be influenced during a full moon to become moonstruck (fall in Love). It’s written by John Patrick Shanley mostly for laughs and to celebrate being Italian in Brooklyn. At times it gets heavy-handed. At other times it squeezes in a few jokes.

Dean Martin gets things going by singing “That’s Amore,” whose lyrics scream out at us that “The moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie.” If that’s your song, this is your picture.

It tells the story about the frumpy 37-year-old bookkeeper from Brooklyn, the widow Loretta Castorini (Cher), who is about to marry the dull 42-year-old bachelor, Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello). But when he takes off to visit Italy alone to confer with relatives about his upcoming marriage and tells his future wife to invite to the wedding his bakery worker younger brother Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage), missing a hand over an accident with the bread slicer, big brother can’t imagine her falling for the loser–but she does, and the wedding is off.

I found Cage’s performance over-baked, and the film unevenly baked.

It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

REVIEWED ON 4/28/2023  GRADE: C+–