Big Night

A movie about two Italian immigrant brothers (Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci, both in fine form) who open a New Jersey restaurant called the Paradise; Shalhoub plays the artistic and temperamental chef, Tucci the more practical-minded manager (1996). Tucci wrote the script with his cousin, Joseph Tropiano, and directed it with one of his costars, Campbell Scott. Apart from offering what may well be the best advertisement for Italian cooking in movies, this little picture charms by virtue of its craft and patience; it moves at times more like a European movie than an American one, allowing its characterizations to grow on us, and the effort pays off. It also succeeds as a story about art and idealism and cultural assimilation. Others in the cast include Isabella Rossellini, Minnie Driver, Ian Holm, Marc Anthony, and Allison Janney. R, 107 min. (JR)

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