Chicago-born comedian and actor Sebastian Maniscalco is having a movie moment this weekend as his seriocomic and partially autobiographical new comedy About My Father, which he co-wrote and in which he stars, opens on screens around the country. In the film Maniscalco, whose stand-up career is red hot, announces himself as an appealing big screen persona, playing a version of himself coming to terms with his first-generation Sicilian immigrant father, Salvo, delivered by Robert DeNiro with his late career comedy gusto and more than a little heart.
The picture, in which Maniscalco and co-star Leslie Bibb play engaged Chicagoans headed to her wealthy family’s East Coast manor for Independence Day celebrations with Maniscalo’s hairstylist dad Salvo in tow, gets buoyant lift from a seasoned cast including Kim Cattrall and David Rasche as Bibb’s blue-blooded parents and Anders Holm and Brett Dier as her eccentric brothers. On order for the family getaway are culture and social clashes as well as a very nice acting tandem between Maniscalco and DeNiro as a father and son sorting out how they really feel about each other. Like Maniscalo, director Laura Terruso is the daughter of first generation Sicilians, and underscores the cultural ties and disconnects.
Broadly played but likable and ultimately warm, About My Father goes down easy, however familiar. I recently caught up with stars Maniscalco, Cattrall, Rasche, Dier and director Terruso during Chicago’s “Hometown Screening” event, where each stopped by the red carpet to share perspectives on their zany comedy and the joy and professionalism of their ensemble. Given Maniscalco’s stature as a premiere voice in American comedy and today’s climate of political correctness around nearly all laughing matters, I took the opportunity to ask him if anything should be off limits in standup. His reply, and the cast’s collective discussions on the making of their picture as well as their careers, memorable moments on set and for Terruso, the personal importance of the picture, can be viewed in our interviews at the link.
- 00:09 – Sebastian Maniscalco
- 05:07 – Kim Cattrall
- 06:40 – David Rasche
- 08:23 – Brett Dier
- 09:53 – Laura Terruso