Aw, listen to us -- we sound like 'The Sopranos,'" laments one character just moments into "Face to Face." Unfortunately, that analysis holds for the remaining 80-odd minutes. Starring and co-written by '70s teen heartthrob Scott Baio, low-budget comedy about three chips off the old Jersey block trying to bond with their retro-macho Italian-American dads has its heart in the right place -- but everything else is trite, broad, schmaltzy and/or second-hand. Cable and cassette markets are signaled.

Aw, listen to us — we sound like ‘The Sopranos,'” laments one character just moments into “Face to Face.” Unfortunately, that analysis holds for the remaining 80-odd minutes. Starring and co-written by ’70s teen heartthrob Scott Baio, low-budget comedy about three chips off the old Jersey block trying to bond with their retro-macho Italian-American dads has its heart in the right place — but everything else is trite, broad, schmaltzy and/or second-hand. Cable and cassette markets are signaled.

A grandfather’s death makes earnest Richie Gallo (Baio) aware that he’s never really gotten close to his own hard-driving, ulcerous, emotionally remote pa Jimmy (Dean Stockwell, chewing scenery). He persuades two cousins, womanizing Philly (Thomas Calabro) and dim-bulb divorcee Al (Carlo Imperato), that they, too, must bridge the paternal communication gap with their fathers (Alex Rocco and Joe Viterelli, respectively) before it’s too late. With a little help from their stereotypically meddling, pasta-cooking mamas, younger trio “kidnap” the elders for a weekend in the country. Predictable comic mishaps and incessant yelling ensue before a convenient crisis spurs warm reconciliations all around. Routinely penned, staged and synth-scored, pic never rises above sitcom-style yuks and pat sentiment.

Face to Face

Production

A Giants Entertainment and David Dadon presentation of a Baio/White production. Produced by Dadon, Neil P. White, Steven Baio. Executive producer, Lydia Dadon. Directed by Ellie Kanner. Screenplay, Scott Baio, Jeffrey Gurian, from a story by Baio, Carlo Imperato, Adam Ferrara.

Crew

Camera (color), Joe Montgomery; editor, Joel Bender; music, Steve Goldstein; production designer, Melissa Schrock. Reviewed at Taos Talking Picture Festival, April 5, 2001. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Dean Stockwell, Alex Rocco, Joe Viterelli, Thomas Calabro, Scott Baio, Carlo Imperato, Madchen Amick, Jonathan Banks, Randee Heller, Elsa Raven, Carol Ann Susi, Ellen Travolta, Ron Zimmerman, Meat Loaf Aday.

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