The PR poop on the alleged underdog phenomenon Uncle Nino is that it's being granted a national release after playing to wildly appreciative audiences in one Grand Rapids theater for an entire year. Apparently, the year in question was 1954, because the cloying Nino is terminally square to an extent that would have been laughable anytime thereafter. Boasting enough Mediterranean smarm to make Roberto Benigni gag, the movie sends a kindly, violin-playing stereotype of an Italian (Pierrino Mascarino) to America, where his troubled extended family is just waiting to harvest the life lessons he's genetically predisposed to dispense (after he learns basic English with a rapidity Mensa would envy, that is). And just what are the oh-so-modern challenges facing Uncle Nino's hapless kin? Well, his grown-up nephew (Joe Mantegna) works too darn much, and that absenteeism has caused the family's teen scion to fall in with a wild crowd that TPs the neighbors' houses. I excrete you not; mild vandalism is the best dramatic device this flick can come up with. The characters are all clichés, the dialogue is abominable and every story point is radioed so far in advance that it should come with its own motorcade. Welcome to America, Uncle Nino. Hope you liked Grand Rapids. Now go the hell home.
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