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It'd be easy to dismiss Kevin Jordan's Brooklyn Lobster as conventional, obvious and entirely predictable -- except for the fact that the charming little movie is also pretty warm, heartfelt and packed with strong performances. The story itself might be nothing new, but it's one that's delivered with an appreciable sense of sincerity and personality.
It's the story of a Brooklyn lobster house, a tiny New England-ish oasis on the outskirts of the world's craziest city. A neighborhood staple for over 60 years, Giorgio's seafood house is about to meet the wrecking ball -- unless the family can band together and devise a worthwhile scheme. But, of course, there's usually too much bickering going on to get much work done.
At this point you probably already know where Brooklyn Lobster is headed: the successful son and his beautiful fiancee fly in from Seattle; the devoted daughter balances the books, but has a few ideas that might save the day; Mom & Dad are struggling through one of those late-stage estrangement periods -- and those are never much fun. And of course there's a colorful gang of in-laws, customers and well-wishers who'd love to see Giorgio's avoid foreclosure.
As I mentioned earlier, it's a fairly familiar little story. But who says there's anything wrong with a story you've already heard before? Plus the quietly amusing little indie features some great work from character actor Danny Aiello and veteran comedienne Jane Curtin. The entire cast is surpisingly strong, but it's just cool to see two old pros getting a chance to work together in a simple "people story" like this one.
Video: Anamorphic widescreen. The transfer shows a little fleckage in the darker scenes, but overall the movie looks just fine.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0, which does the job.
A pair of audio commentaries are the meatiest extras: Actor Danny Aiello provides a solo track, while (director) Kevin Jordan and (producer) Darren Jordan collaborate on another. The brothers present a whole lot of indie-style war stories, and their affection for the movie comes through pretty effortlessly. Aiello's conversation is precisely as classy and amusing as you'd expect.
The Lobster Family is a 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that illustrates precisely how autobiographical the movie is. (A lot!) There's also a 6-minute collection of Danny Aiello and Jane Curtin interviews, a handful of deleted scenes, an image gallery and several cast & crew bios.
Most of these "family in strife" are 90% artifice and 10% schmaltz, but I have a suspicion that Brooklyn Lobster comes from a sincere (as in autobiographical) place, and, despite its familiar trappings, it's presented with an admirable lack of B.S.