A box of cannoli long past its sell-by date, “Everybody Wants to Be Italian” is a clumsy but inoffensive romantic comedy set in and around Boston’s Little Italy. To his credit, writer-director Jason Todd Ipson mostly avoids the shrill stereotyping of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” instead applying a vague, almost half-hearted Italian overlay to a typically quirky tale of two mopey souls who are both attractive and (go figure) unlucky in love. Slight Roadside Attractions release begins its limited run Sept. 5.
Plucky young fishmonger Jake (Jay Jablonski) gets fixed up on a blind date with beautiful thirtysomething veterinarian Marisa (Cerina Vincent); neither is Italian, though each thinks the other is. Pic mostly ignores this mistaken-ethnicity hook, instead focusing on Jake’s stalkerish determination to win back his ex (Marisa Petroro), never mind that she’s married with kids now. Jablonski and Vincent have appealing moments but are often elbowed aside by John Kapelos and John Enos III as Jake’s boisterously shticky buddies. Relentless accordion music adds grating ambience, and the inevitable Italy-set coda looks none too authentic. Dead fish in Jake’s market are by far the pic’s freshest elements.