Monday Mystery Movie: Despite the lack of publicity, ‘Mafia Mamma’ is sure to wow audiences

Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street Media

Monday Mystery Movies, put on by Regal Cinemas, is a great way for viewers to see a movie they initially wouldn’t have considered buying tickets for. While guessing the movie beforehand is most of the fun, leaving the theater excited about a surprising new film is even better.

My predictions for the most recent Monday Mystery Movie, which premiered April 4, were either “Renfield” or “Air,” both of which looked like movies right up my alley. 

However, when Toni Collette’s face showed up on the screen in a self-recorded video, telling us we were the first theater audience to see her new movie, there was a collective groan of disappointment from the audience.

“Mafia Mamma,” a movie I hadn’t even heard a whisper about, was Regal’s Monday Mystery Movie of choice. 

While my initial disappointment was strong, it quickly faded once the audience was plunged into an unforgettable film.

“Mafia Mamma” follows Kristin Balbano (Toni Collette), a wife and mom who gets quite a shock when she receives a phone call from a woman named Bianca (Monica Bellucci) telling her that she needs to fly to Italy to settle the affairs of her newly deceased grandfather.

Kristin initially declines, but once she catches her husband cheating on her, she accepts the invitation to live out her romantic Italian fantasy.

What she didn’t expect to find out? Her grandfather was head of an Italian mob and was murdered by their rivals, the Romanos. As her grandfather’s only living relative, it’s now her job to take over the family business and become the new Balbano mob boss.

Almost everything about this film was done to perfection. The casting was excellent, the pacing was slow enough to build character development but action packed enough to keep you engaged, the soundtrack was fun, the dialogue was funny and the scenery was beautiful.

The only thing that kept this movie from being a solid 10/10 was Toni Collette’s performance. As much as I hate to say it, it was just too cheesy and obnoxious to be enjoyable. It was obvious her character was meant to be a little oblivious and fit the typical “American tourist” stereotype, but you can be ignorant without being cringy and annoying in the process.

[Toni Collette stars as Kristin Balbano in “Mafia Mamma.”]
Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street Media

Colette’s acting record is fairly impressive, being featured in films like “Knives Out,” “Hereditary” and “The Sixth Sense,” so I was surprised to be both disappointed and irritated with her performance. But as the film progressed, her character became more tolerable, so it didn’t take away from the movie as a whole.

Two supporting characters stood high above the rest and quickly became my favorites. Dante (Alfonso Perugini) and Aldo (Francesco Mastroianni), Kristin’s bodyguards, stole the show with their dozens of jokes and hilarious situations.

In a scene where Kristin is riding on the back of a Vespa with an attractive Italian man, we see Dante and Aldo riding closely behind, holding onto each other while riding their shared Vespa, both looking beyond annoyed — a scene that received an abundance of laughter from the audience.

The scenery in this film alone could be enough to convince you it’s time for an Italian getaway. The beautiful shots of the Vatican, vineyards and old architecture painted Italy in such a magnificent light, I was itching to plan a trip of my own.

“Mafia Mamma” is categorized as an adventure/comedy, making this a diverse film that has something for everyone to enjoy. There’s action-packed shootouts between the rival mobs, romantic moments when Kristin meets the attractive Italian man of her dreams, comedy woven throughout the entire movie and some well executed gore.

According to IMDB, “Mafia Mamma” is rated R for bloody violence, sexual content and language. While the film does have some gore involved, you can usually see it coming in time to look away if you’re not into graphic gore. 

“Mafia Mamma” tells the story of a middle-aged woman finding herself, learning her worth and being an absolute girlboss in the process — literally. 
Watch the official trailer here and catch “Mafia Mamma” when it hits theaters on April 14.

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