Movie Review: About My Father

In August of last year, the movie “Easter Sunday” was released, about the family and especially the mother of Jo Koy, a very good standup comedian who uses stories about his mother as part of his act. The producer of this film was none other than Steven Speilberg. The problem with Easter Sunday is that Koy’s humor in his standup act did not translate to the screen. The screenplay was also bad and the entire story was about Koy handling high-stress conflicts in his life, ending with attempted humor with his controlling mother. This film was low-rated on both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB.

The new movie “About My Father” is another attempt at taking a standup act, for Sebastian Maniscalco and translating it into a film. This attempt fails even worse than Easter Sunday, mainly because the screenplay is so bad. There is no noticeable story within these two hours, just a series of events, that try to be funny, and mostly all fail. The worse failed funny scene is when Sebastian, played by Maniscalco, is on a water jet and his bathing suit falls off, and none of this is funny and its only purpose was to add a shocking scene to the movie trailer.

What probably happened here is that producers were trying to capitalize on the popularity of Sebastian Maniscalco, then when the script (co-wrote by Maniscalco), was found to be not good enough they called in a favor from Robert De Niro, in the slim hope to rescue the box office. From my experience as an avid moviegoer, this strategy never works. This is because a bad movie is simply a bad movie and cannot be rescued by throwing someone respected and famous into the cast.

I was surprised about how bad this movie was. There was no flow or continuity, just a series of scenes. This film also stars Leslie Bibb as Ellie Sebastian’s girlfriend and Kim Cattrall and David Rasche as Ellie’s parents. I would have thought, given one of the writers is Maniscalco, that there would be something that works comedically in this film, but there is nothing funny in the entire two hours – always the cardinal sin of all comedy films.

In 1999 and 2002, Robert De Niro made two good comedy movies with Billy Crystal – “Analyse This”, and “Analyse That”. Unfortunately, most of the other comedy movies he has made since then, including the very bad “Dirty Grandpa” and this movie are failed attempts at comedy. Hopefully, De Niro will steer clear of comedies and continue with dramas. Not even the great actor Robert De Niro can have too many movies this bad on his resume.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating of a very low 29% is correct this time around, with my rating of 15% and a recommendation to not waste two hours with this mess of a surprisingly bad comedy movie.

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