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"BIG NIGHT"
(1996) (Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate None Mild None None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Moderate Mild Minor Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy/Drama: Two Italian immigrants have one last chance at making their restaurant a success.
PLOT:
Two Italian immigrant brothers, Primo (TONY SHALHOUB) and Secondo (STANLEY TUCCI), have opened a Jersey shore restaurant serving authentic Italian dishes. The problem is nobody frequents their place, but instead everyone goes across the street to another restaurant owned by Pascal (IAN HOLM). He'd love to hire the brothers to work in his place, but they are too proud and stubborn to accept the fact that without something big happening soon, they'll go out of business. Pascal provides the "big" when he informs them that he'll get Louis Prima, a famous big band performer, to visit their place and that if he likes it, he'll let others know. Sensing that this might be their last chance, they prepare for a feast to end all feasts. Along with their helper Christiano (MARC ANTHONY), Secondo's girlfriend Phyllis (MINNIE DRIVER), Pascal's mistress/hostess Gabriella (ISABELLA ROSSELLINI), and others, the two brothers create a culinary masterpiece as they await their famous customer.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Not a chance. They might recognize Shalhoub from TV's "Wings," but other than that, there are no big draws and the story will make them roll their eyes if you tell them what it's about.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • TONY SHALHOUB plays the determined cook who's passion for his cuisine makes him seem stubborn at times.
  • STANLEY TUCCI plays a character who runs the restaurant and cheats on his girlfriend.
  • IAN HOLM plays the brother's competition who turns out to be more ruthless than expected. He also mouths most of the "f" words.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 8 out of 10
    This is a marvelously fresh, original and funny film. Going entirely against the grain of recent plot oriented (and predictable) movies, this one is mostly character driven. And what fun characters you'll be introduced to who will stick with you long after you've seen this film. Shalhoub and Tucci should have received Oscar nominations for their work and the supporting cast is excellent as each character is well developed. The cinematography treats the food like another character, and if you don't get full just from watching this, you'll surely want to rush out to your favorite Italian eatery after seeing it. We give "Big Night" a big 8 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The biggest issue of concern is the frequent use of the "f" word that easily could have been omitted from the film. There are two mild sexually related scenes (one has a clothed breast groping and another shows two people in bed after an adulterous encounter). Other than some mild brotherly arguing and the fact that several of the characters get drunk while waiting for the big dinner to begin, there isn't much to object to. While most children will avoid this film at all costs, you should still read through the category listings just to make sure there isn't something objectionable that they may come across while you're watching it.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Secondo has a shot of liquor before opening the restaurant.
  • The brothers have after dinner drinks.
  • Primo has grappa with Alberto the barber.
  • Secondo has scotch and water while at Pascal's restaurant.
  • Everyone drinks wine, beer and/or cocktails as the big dinner begins. After a while, many of them are drunk and Phyllis is later seen throwing up due to drinking too much.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Secondo drives by Pascal's restaurant and sees a cook running out with his apron on fire. The cook rips off the apron and then runs away when Pascal comes out and yells at him. Thus, it's implied that Pascal had something to do with the man being on fire.
  • Secondo is cheating on his girlfriend by sleeping with Gabriella.
  • Pascal turns out to be a ruthless businessman who's out to close down his competition.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Eating lots of food (for parents).
  • Phrase: "Bite your teeth into the ass of life."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 23 "f" words, 1 "ass" word, 1 SOB, and 7 uses of "God damn," 6 uses of "Oh my God," and 1 use of "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Secondo and Phyllis make out in a car and he feels her breast. He then stops because he gets frustrated when he "can't go there" (have sex). She understands but says that they do "other things" in place of having sex. He also says he'd rather wait until both of them are ready (which is commendable, but we later learn the real reason behind his abstinence).
  • Secondo and Gabriella are seen in bed together after having had sex. There's a very quick glimpse of his bare butt as he gets out of bed to get dressed. There's no other nudity or sexual activity seen.
  • Phyllis goes swimming in the ocean (after catching Secondo and Gabriella kissing) in just her undergarments. When she comes out, her breasts are nearly seen in her wet, skin tight camisole.
  • SMOKING
  • Set in the 1950's, nearly everyone smokes throughout the film.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • The two brothers argue about the status and future of their restaurant and at the end have a rather large fight (over their different philosophies).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Primo mentions that what goes on at Pascal's restaurant is "the rape of cuisine." Kids might misunderstand rape being used in that context.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Primo's upset about some plumbing problems they're having and half jokingly says, "I need to call the plumber to come back tomorrow so that I can kill him."
  • Primo throws a pot across the kitchen when he learns that a customer wants spaghetti served with risotto (which he sees as sacrilegious).
  • Secondo drives by Pascal's restaurant and sees a cook running out with his apron on fire. The cook rips off the apron and then runs away when Pascal comes out and yells at him. Thus, it's implied that Pascal had something to do with the man being on fire.
  • Pascal gets up and tells Primo "I should kill you." He pauses and then says "This is so f*cking good, I should kill you."
  • Secondo violently knocks some food and utensils to the floor after Primo has left in a huff and Secondo thinks the night is ruined.
  • The two brothers kick sand on each other and then wrestle to the ground after the night turns out to be a bust.



  • Reviewed September 23, 1996

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