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Didn't do anything for me.  Sorry to those of you who love the movie, or who saw it as a child and thought it was the greatest film ever made.  This is one of those pictures that's great looking and all with its Tony Scott / Barry Levinson visual schema (lots of telephoto, no tripods kind of thing), but there's too many clichés and nothing to draw you in.  Makes you want to eat, though!  Think I'll get something to eat right now...

Danny Aiello headlines as Louis Cropa, the old semi-Mafioso restaurant owner just one day from retirement.  He explains midway in the movie that he never used a gun.  So after the Godfather movies and GoodFellas and everything else that's come before, what makes him so special anyway?  Then there's Udo, Louis's son who's the head chef of the restaurant and also a hard man to work for.  You know, the whole thing that's been done to death about the boss's son who doesn't know what he's doing so he takes out his frustrations on everyone, that kind of thing, except here he's a competent chef but still a prick.  For the ladies' sake he spends most of the movie with a sexy Billy Baldwin-esque pout frozen on his face.  In his introduction he fires a new employee in a way that would make Donald Trump proud.  In comes Duncan, another good chef with a little more job protection.  He knows what kind of food Louis really likes, which we coincidentally get to hear about from the big man himself, and Duncan makes him some nice peppers and sausage.  The whole son-he-never-had kind of thing.  Udo smells what's going on between those two, as he prefers the more haute side of the cuisine spectrum, or food that's pretty to look at, and wants the restaurant to be more prestigious in that regard.  Also, Duncan does some killer dry-humping with his main squeeze in a doorway, which I think is meant to illustrate his overall troubled state of affairs, which includes but is not limited to paying off his bookie.  You know, that whole pay-off-the-bookie thing.  Only in New York!

There's also a guessing game here.  Guess which one is the killer come to rub a guy out?  And some guest stars.  Craig Kilborn beat me to it, but it begs the question: how polite is it to say to John Corbett "Say hi to Beau for me"?  See, he kinda looks like Jeff Bridges, and Beau Bridges is Jeff's brother, you see.  Also there's Edward Burns' onscreen brotherAjay Naidu has the thankless task of being the movie's homophobia target; check out his breakdancing in Office Space instead.  Sandra Bernhard kinda reprises her role from The King of Comedy, or is it just the way she always acts?  She tones it down compared to Hudson Hawk, anyhow.  She was born in Flint, Michigan, too?  How come we never see her and Michael Moore together?

To its credit, the film manages to do a lot with its one setting, so the film's not boring in a claustrophobic way, but in my ongoing struggle to figure out why bad movies are bad, for Dinner Rush I think the problem is that it's too slick.  A movie's supposed to hold your interest for a while, but I felt like changing the channel about every 3 minutes or so.  Imagine feeling that way in the theater!

There's also a big bloody finale, as is hinted at given the natures of the characters assembled here for this little ensemble piece.  There's blood sans guts (You want guts?  Try the R-rated version of Pearl Harbor!  Now THERE'S where a man's guts can really get out and breathe in Big Sky-esque country!), and the music swells and we can't help but say to ourselves "Bada Bing!  Now THAT'S a Gangland Slaying!"  (See also The Public Eye for a similar big finish, but don't knock yourself out if Blockbuster doesn't have it.)  Well, at least director Bob Giraldi still has his day job: reminiscing about working with Pat Benatar.  Now would it have killed him to give her a cameo?  

Why I haven't even gotten into the dialogue yet!  Left a lot to be desired, especially Aiello's last line, also the movie's tag line, which he gives an admirable delivery: "They say that revenge is a dish best eaten cold."  He's even corrected by his driver, but is it worth it?

Other obscure Danny Aiello films, semi-food related: The Pickle, 29th Street.

Other scenes of a cook's woes: Try Dennis Haysbert in Heat.  That scene alone accomplishes what this film tries to do for line cook's rights.  Or The Three Stooges in An Ache in Every Stake.

Other big gangland slayings: The Public Eye.

...just found out the director OWNS the restaurant he made the film in!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.......


-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan

(c)2005 Bulk Entertainment

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