City Island (3 stars)

City Island

Indie comedy charts city family life

(12a) 103min

Everyone has their secrets in the Italian-American Rizzo family, who live in the titular seaside community on the outskirts of New York. Dad Vince (Andy Garcia) is a corrections officer, who yearns to be the next Brando and secretly takes acting classes. Daughter Vivian (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) is stripping to pay for her college fees. Teenage son Vince Jnr (Ezra Miller) has an online fetish for feeding extra-large women. And when Vince brings home a young probationer (Steven Strait), mother Joyce takes a shine to the newcomer, oblivious to the fact that he is actually her husband’s long-lost son.

Written and directed by Raymond De Felitta, indie comedy City Island is very much in the mould of Little MIss Sunshine – there’s even room for Alan Arkin, here playing a curmudgeonly drama teacher. The plot follows a familiar path: deceptions and misunderstandings pile up and competing views are noisily exchanged, before a melodramatic climax in which the familial problems are all tidily resolved. Yet there are plenty of amusing moments en route, and De Felitta displays a welcome warmth towards to all his characters, whilst in an impressive cast Emily Mortimer excels as Vance’s ethereal fellow student and confidante.

City Island

  • 3 stars
  • 2009
  • US
  • 1h 43min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Raymond De Felitta
  • Written by: Raymond De Felitta
  • Cast: Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Steven Strait, Emily Mortimer, Ezra Miller, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Alan Arkin

Pseudo-comic familial drama in the 'Little Miss Sunshine' mould leads through deceptions and misunderstandings to a tidily resolved ending. Along the way there is plenty to enjoy, including a fine humour and a real sense of writer/director's De Felitta's warmth towards his characters, plus an impressive cast that includes…