Under Review: ‘City Island’


There seems to have been a sudden influx of family-related films and television shows. All of them seem to sugar-coat the struggles the modern family faces, but hey, that’s Hollywood for ya’ and in these times of economic crisis where families are driven to the edge due to money issues and marital stress, it’s almost soothing to have a film like “City Island” gracing the big-screen.

“City Island” — which is both directed and written by Raymond De Felitta and stars Andy Garcia of “The Godfather III” fame — is a melodramatic, but also humane and heart-warming, look at family dynamics.

Andy Garcia plays Vince Rizzo, a prison guard and aspiring actor who unknowingly spirals his family in a circle of “hilariously” weaved webs of lies. His wife (Julianna Margulies) suspects he is having an affair (when in actuality, he’s at an acting class) and in turn tries to spite him by having an escapade with Vince’s ex-con son (unknowing that he’s Vince’s son). Vince’s daughter (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) is also part of this cycle of deceit and lies to her parents about attending college, when, in actuality, she becomes a stripper.

“City Island” is never hilarious, instead it provides some subtle humor and lets its natural warmth and reliability carry it through its satisfyingly short running time.

Garcia does a great job at portraying the aspiring Vince Rizzo and the script pays a couple odes to “The Godfather” series. The supporting cast is not to be scoffed at; however, the film’s lack of importance stops any of these performances from being too memorable.

“City Island” doesn’t try too hard and perhaps this is its charm. It’s simply a film about a family that should be watched with family.

Also starring Ezra Miller, Emily Mortimer, Steven Strait and Alan Arkin, “City Island” currently is playing in New York and Los Angeles.

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