I was hoping "A Tale Of Two Pizzas" would be an amusing behind the kitchen food film reminiscent of "Big Night." Instead, what I got was a film that was more concerned with "Melrose Place" like antics.
The story: In Yonkers, New York, the Rossi and Bianco families both run their own pizza joints. As you can guess, the two families are constantly competing with each other trying to steal each others business. As the war between the families heats up, a cook off is proposed to determine who has the best pizza in town. Scrambling to create the ultimate pizza, the Rossi family attempts to obtain the Bianco's recipe for their delicious crispy crust, while the Bianco family desires the recipe for the Rossi family's mouth-watering pizza sauce. In the midst of all this pizza, family members Angela Rossi and Tony Bianco begin to develop a romantic relationship that could bring the two families together.
The heart of the film lies in the romance between Angela (Robin Paul) and Tony (Conor Dubin), but at the same time the romance is the source of the film's flaws. These two characters simply don't have any chemistry together. Their discussions and interactions feel like scenes from a bad daytime soap opera or an episode of "The OC" (only with Italians). Luckily "Sopranos" stars Vincent Pastore and Frank Vincent liven the story, but they are given a small amount of screen time. Still, the two do the best they can with the material they are given.
In addition to the failed romance, the rivalry aspect is downright childish. Vito and Frank act as if the fate of the world hangs in balance as the best pizza is determined. Granted, their obsession with pizza pie was meant to show how out of touch with reality they were, but the feud is too overly dramatic and self-important for a film about pizza.
Another odd inclusion is the strange animated scenes that sporadically appear. I know they were meant to represent Tony's artistic ability, but the animation is distracting and is generally used as filler shots for cutaway scenes. Unless a combination of live action and animation is central to the plot such as in "Cool World" or "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", animation shouldn't be thrown into a movie. By having these out of place animated scenes, the viewer is taken out of the movie as it defies the world these characters are meant to live in.
For an indie release, the widescreen video quality is exceptional. I did not notice any grain, video compression, or any real problems. The picture is consistently clear.
Both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo tracks are HORRENDOUS. I'd say 60% of the time, the dialogue was muffled. You'd swear the actors were talking through a pillow when the dialogue was recorded. I get better audio on my cell phone video recorder.
Nothing at all.
Tasty looking pizza aside, this predictable cliched ridden film leaves a bad taste in your mouth. If you are looking for an enjoyable comedy involving pizza, check out "Mystic Pizza" starring Julia Roberts.
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.