Review: ‘Pizza! The Movie’

Some 3 billion American pizzas are sold per year, a fact that helps explain the extreme, even bitter seriousness with which various protagonists in "Pizza! The Movie" take their own contributions to the extra-cheesy arts. Michael Dorian's entertaining docu wobbles a bit structurally, trying to balance an overview of U.S. pizza industry, history and culture while chronicling ego wars surrounding members of the "U.S. Pizza Team" as they compete in such surreal categories as Freestyle Pizza Tossing and Largest Dough Stretch. Fun fest item could slim down to fit broadcast slots.

Some 3 billion American pizzas are sold per year, a fact that helps explain the extreme, even bitter seriousness with which various protagonists in “Pizza! The Movie” take their own contributions to the extra-cheesy arts. Michael Dorian’s entertaining docu wobbles a bit structurally, trying to balance an overview of U.S. pizza industry, history and culture while chronicling ego wars surrounding members of the “U.S. Pizza Team” as they compete in such surreal categories as Freestyle Pizza Tossing and Largest Dough Stretch. Fun fest item could slim down to fit broadcast slots.

Limning the Neapolitan origins, regional styles and enormous popularity of the American pie as backdrop, pic first finds strife in the rivalry between magazines PMQ and Pizza Today. They fight over exposure at Pizza Expos and over sponsorship of the aforementioned Team, whose star attraction, Tony Gemignani, has won numerous prizes (World Champion Pizza Thrower, etc.) several years running. When he loses one title to a younger upstart, accusations of jury-rigging fly. Scenes of Gemignani & Co. doing choreographed acrobatic routines (one aping “The Matrix”) while spinning dough are as amazing as they are ridiculous. Tech aspects are OK.

Pizza! The Movie

Production

A Cat Price production. Produced, directed by Michael Dorian.

Crew

Camera (color, mini-DV), Joe dos Santos; editors, Tanya Ager, Dorian; music, Snob. Reviewed at San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, May 13, 2006. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Tony Gemignani, Steve Green, Pete LaChappelle, Tom Boyles, Jeremy White, Joe Carlucci, Ed LaDou, Juan Hermosillo, Peter Reinhart, Mario Batali, Rocco Di Spirito, Ed Zimmerman.
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