Movie review: Somewhere In Queens

Versailles Palace

After my wife came home from a movie she’d seen alone (Chevalier, which she liked), she thought we should see the film Somewhere In Queens, based on the trailer.

I knew next to nothing about the film except that it was the directorial debut of Ray Romano. He was the star, a writer, and a producer of the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. The show was based on his standup routine. I saw it infrequently; I watched only one episode in its entirety, though it was nominated for 69 Emmys, winning 15.

Yet I’ve seen him in subsequent projects such as The Irishman, The Big Sick, and the TV show Parenthood.

The film

Leo (Romano) and Angela Russo (Laurie Metcalf from Roseanne) are part of an extended Italian-American family. Every other week, there’s a family event at the Versailles Palace, the neighborhood banquet hall.

Leo works in the family business run by Pop/Dominic (Tony Lo Bianco), a construction company job he doesn’t love. However, his brother Frank (Sebastian Maniscalco) and his sons seemed to be born into it. Their current worksite is at the home of the young widow Pamela (Jennifer Esposito).

Leo and Angela’s very reserved son Matthew, who everyone calls ‘Sticks'(Jacob Ward), finds success on his high-school basketball team. Maybe this will be his ticket to college. And who’s that young woman, Dani (Sadie Stanley), hanging on his arm after the game?

I had concluded that the movie was about a particular storyline. Ultimately, though, it was centered on something quite universal. It’s pretty funny, but it has its serious moments. I am unwilling to reveal much more.

My wife and I liked it; most critics and the audience felt likewise. In one online poll, 31 of 32 people gave it four or five stars out of five. The one-star reviewer said they knew Italian-Americans, and they didn’t swear like that. There IS a bit of cursing, usually at other family members. Then they move on.

The movie title, though accurate, is pretty dull.

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