Loose Cannons has a genuinely funny heart
Starring Riccardo Scamarcio and Nicole Grimaudo. In Italian with English subtitles. Rated 14A.
After much tormented deliberation, the youngest son of a rich clan in hidebound southern Italy decides to come out at the next family dinner. Dark-eyed Tommaso Cantone (Riccardo Scamarcio) was writing a novel and living with his new boyfriend in Rome while pretending to study finance. He dreads taking over the pasta business from his fiercely reactionary father (Ennio Fantastichini), and now he’ll get disowned before that can happen. Too bad elder brother Antonio (Alessandro Preziosi) drops his own bombshell first and is gone before another word can be said.
It’s not clear who’s got the biggest boom in Loose Cannons, since Tomasso’s uptight mom (Lunetta Savino), hard-drinking aunt (Elena Sofia Ricci), and diabetic, secret-holding grandma (Ilaria Occhini) all seem ready to blow. Then there’s Alba (Nicole Grimaudo), the gorgeous but volatile company exec who shows Tommaso the semolina ropes and yearns for the lad, even after discovering that he kicks for the other team.
All in all, the Cantones make the Ewings of Dallas look liberal in this cliché-ridden yet highly entertaining comedy directed by Turkish-born Ferzan Ozpetek, best known for 1997’s Hamam, and written by him with Ivan Cotroneo, who helped script 2009’s I Am Love, a more serious-minded look at escaping an oppressive Italian patriarchy.
The director is overbearing with his sitcom setups and relentlessly editorial use of music. Everything is exaggerated, and it’s hard to believe, for example, that even the Cantones would think Tommaso’s Roman pals are straight when they show up looking like Liza Minelli’s lost backup dancers. But these guys are genuinely funny, and Ozpetek doles out so much affection for all the characters that you have to forgive the excess. And there’s no denying the message of the film’s twist ending: everyone needs to come out about something.
Watch the trailer for Loose Cannons.