Love Is All There Is

Distributed by: The Samuel Goldwyn Company

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Years ago, in my Angelina Jolie movie collecting phase, I picked up a romantic comedy released in 1996 called Love Is All There Is.  After watching it, I thought it wasn’t one of her best films and decided to file it away in the “okay” category.  Just the other day, I decided to go through my movie library to see if there were any movies I was ready to give the old heave-ho to.  I pulled out Love Is All There Is and decided to watch it one more time before I made my decision.

            The movie is a modern day representation of Romeo & Juliet set in City Island, New York.  The Cappamezzas are a middle class family with a longtime history on the island as a popular catering business whose clientele are average everyday working class individuals.  The Malacicis are upper class Italians who move into the neighborhood and begin their own catering business believing that their style and grace will win over the hearts of the people on the island.

            Every year, the local community theater puts on a presentation of a popular play, hosting the after-party at the Cappamezza restaurant.  This year’s presentation of Romeo & Juliet is almost scrapped due to the loss of the actress scheduled to portray Juliet, until the Malacicis (Paul Sorvino and Barbara Carrera) come to the rescue, offering their daughter who is scheduled to be on the island for a short time and has played this part before.  Unfortunately, the part of Romeo is portrayed by none other than Rosario Cappamezza, the restaurant owners’ (Lainie Kazan and Joseph Bologna) son.  Gina Malacici (Angelina Jolie) and Rosario Cappamezza (Nathaniel Marston) fall instantly in love causing much anguish for the two warring families.

            This second time around, I found the movie to actually be rather funny.  Basing it on some of the folks I know who live in the area, I found that I could actually find humor in the way Sadie Cappamezza believes she has psychic abilities yet still goes to self-proclaimed psychic and resident nut Mona (Renee Taylor) for advice on everything from business to love.  The advice offered by Mona is ridiculous, and yet, as the movie progresses, we realize that she is actually right about the whole situation.

            Lainie Kazan is terrific in the role of Sadie Cappamezza, a woman who dreads losing the love of her son to that of another woman.  Joseph Bologna is moderately funny as Mike Cappamezza, although I believe just about anyone could portray this character with just as much success.  Paul Sorvino is absolutely hysterical as Piero Malacici as is Barbara Carrera as Maria Malacici.  Nathaniel Marston and Angelina Jolie are overly dramatic in their advances toward one another, adding to the comedy of the film.

            I’m fairly certain that anyone with family from “the old country” can relate to the way the Cappamezzas and the Malacicis act toward their siblings and their disdain for each other.  As a person who knows a family just like the Cappamezzas, I couldn’t help but laugh at their unsuccessful attempts at classiness through the use of their limited vocabulary. 

            And so, a movie that was only “okay” after its first viewing has been relegated to enjoyable status.  The only thing I find unfortunate about the DVD version of Love Is All There Is is that there are no extras.  With a movie like this, one could easily imagine a great many bloopers taking place as people flub their lines or adlib new ones.  A documentary on City Island and its rich cultural background would have been nice.  Unfortunately, all you are offered is the original theatrical trailer and your choice of English, Spanish or French subtitles.  Despite the lack of extras, Love Is All There Is is a great movie for your average “I Really Need a Good Laugh” night.


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