×

The Whole Shebang

More of a bright little Roman candle than a full-on pyrotechnic onslaught, George Zaloom's "The Whole Shebang" is a low-key, agreeable romantic comedy about the adventures in amour and ammo of a New Jersey-based fireworks manufacturing clan.

With:
Giovanni Bazinni - Stanley Tucci Valentina Bazinni - Bridget Fonda Pop Bazinni - Giancarlo Giannini Contessa Bazinni - Talia Shire Lady Zito - Anna Maria Alberghetti Joey Zito - Anthony DeSando Robert Bazinni - Alexander Milani Maria - Jo Champa

More of a bright little Roman candle than a full-on pyrotechnic onslaught, George Zaloom’s “The Whole Shebang” is a low-key, agreeable romantic comedy about the adventures in amour and ammo of a New Jersey-based fireworks manufacturing clan. Feature debut of docu producer known for “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” and “Frank Capra: An American Dream” mixes a small fraction of the former’s firepower and a good bit of the sentimentality found in the work of the latter’s subject into a conventional ethnic sparkler that may actually shine brighter on cable than the bigscreen.

After the heir apparent to Neptune, N.J.’s Bazinni & Son fireworks clan, accidentally blows himself sky high during extra-marital sex in the work shed, Pop Bazinni (Giancarlo Giannini) writes to his sister in Naples for a replacement from the family. She sends lovesick cousin Giovanni (Stanley Tucci), whose comical and operatically ill-conceived attempts at suicide over the sultry Maria (Jo Champa) have thus far been unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, widow Val (Bridget Fonda) is wooed by lummox Joey Zito (Anthony DeSando) from Bazinni’s upscale competition in a plot masterminded by matriarch Lady Zito (Anna Maria Alberghetti) to force Pop to divulge the secret blends of saltpeter and charcoal that make his pyrotechnics special.

Whole chunks play like a showcase for Tucci’s shtick, which comes across as part Inspector Clouseau, part Roberto Benigni (pic mixes Italian and heavily accented English in about equal measure). His discomfited antics after mistakenly taking a handful of laxatives in yet another ill-fated suicide attempt provoke pic’s biggest laughs. Also fine are Giannini’s complex physical histrionics and elaborate, nearly indecipherable English.

Zaloom proves adept at comedy, although for every genuinely funny bit of business there’s seemingly an equal and opposite misfire.

Tech credits are incandescent, with Jacek Laskus’ camera capturing both the dreariness of the Bazinni compound (Vancouver subbed for New Jersey) and the bright colors of the fireworks (a fireworks competish was actually shot in Naples) with equal pungency. Per helmer, story was inspired by real-life Fireworks by Grucci outfit, listed as special consultants on pic.

The Whole Shebang

Canada-U.S.

Production: A Christal Films release (in Canada) of a 2K Media/Original Voices production. Produced by David Kirkpatrick, Nick Gillott, Paul E. Harvey. Executive producers, Michael Prupas, Christian Arnold-Beutel. Co-producers, Lisa Towers, Douglas J. Hauck. Directed by George Zaloom. Screenplay, Jeff Rothberg, Zaloom.

Crew: Camera (color), Jacek Laskus; editor, J. Kathleen Gibson; music, Evan Lurie; production designer, Sheila Haley; costume design, Gregory B. Mah; sound (Dolby Digital), David Koop. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (World Cinema: Reflections of Our Time), Aug. 29, 2001. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: Giovanni Bazinni - Stanley Tucci Valentina Bazinni - Bridget Fonda Pop Bazinni - Giancarlo Giannini Contessa Bazinni - Talia Shire Lady Zito - Anna Maria Alberghetti Joey Zito - Anthony DeSando Robert Bazinni - Alexander Milani Maria - Jo Champa

More Film

  • Naomi Watts Thriller 'The Wolf Hour'

    Naomi Watts Thriller 'The Wolf Hour' Picked Up for U.S. by Brainstorm Media

    “The Wolf Hour,” a psychological thriller starring Naomi Watts and Jennifer Ehle, has been picked up for North America by Brainstorm Media. HanWay Films has also closed sales for a host of European and Asian territories. Directed by Alistair Banks Griffin, “The Wolf Hour” features Oscar-nominated Watts as June, a former countercultural celebrity who lives [...]

  • A Star Is Born

    'A Star Is Born' Soundtrack Surpasses Global Sales of 6 Million

    Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s onscreen chemistry continues to be felt on the official soundtrack to “A Star is Born,” which just surpassed 6 million albums sold globally and has been certified double platinum in the U.S. Released by Interscope Records in 2018, the album debuted atop the charts and remains the highest-selling album of [...]

  • monty-python-are-fifty-in-2019

    Previously Unreleased Monty Python Audio to Get Airing for Troupe's 50th Anniversary

    Michael Palin will exec-produce series of radio specials containing never-before-released audio from Monty Python as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the iconic comedy troupe. They will play on the BBC in the U.K. and then go out in the U.S. Palin and his fellow Pythons – John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Huayi Brothers' Stock Falls 8% After 'The Eight Hundred' Cancellation

    Huayi Brothers’ stock fell by more than 8% on Wednesday, the day after the veteran Chinese studio announced that its new war epic, “The Eight Hundred,” will not hit Chinese theaters as scheduled next week. Shares dropped from RMB5.48 to RMB5.02 overnight after Huayi said Tuesday that its summer blockbuster’s theatrical debut would be indefinitely [...]

  • Chinese actor Xu Zheng holds his

    Golden Horse Organizers Set Clashing Date With China's Golden Rooster Awards

    The prestigious Golden Horse Awards announced Wednesday that it will hold its annual ceremony in Taiwan on the same day this year as China’s Communist-backed Golden Rooster Awards – which virtually assures that no major mainland Chinese talent will attend the event known as Asia’s Oscars on November 23. Hong Kong director Johnnie To will [...]

  • Berlin Film Festival Placeholder Berlinale

    Key Berlin Film Festival Venue Set to Close - or Is It?

    The announcement that German exhibitor CineStar would close its multiplex at Berlin’s famed Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz has thrown the cinema’s participation as a key venue for the Berlin Film Festival into doubt. Whether it actually shutters, however, remains to be seen. British-based Vue International is awaiting approval from German antitrust officials on its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content