Perhaps I should stop basing my evaluations of films on what I seein their trailers, because I was pretty sure "Big Night" was going to be a food movie. Now food movies are rarely good movies because they often obsess on inanimate objects, but at least if the story sucks you can stare at the food and drool on yourself.
Unfortunately, "Big Night" stubbornly focuses on the larger moral to be found in the preparation of good food, so we're forced to suffer as Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and his younger brother, Secondo (Stanley Tucci), learn to love each other while their restaurant business goes right into the toilet. Ultimately, the movie teaches, we have only our humanity.
"Humanity" is one of those concepts that ersatz new-age swamis with long hair and frilly outfits would like you think is really important. Send that swami into a downtown brokerage firm, however, and he's unlikely to finish a sentence about humanity before the brokers lash open his neck and drink deeply from the life-giving blood of the innocent. Along the same lines, Primo and Secondo are quickly devoured, but, in the course of having their business destroyed by their competitor, learn that they have each other. How sweet.
Being immigrants, Primo and Secondo have a rather undeveloped sense of American culture. Primo's devotion to the art of cooking makes it impossible for Secondo to run a successful business and makes them both suckers for the evil plan of their nemesis, Pascal (Ian Holm). Why the brothers didn't decapitate Pascal and discover he was actually an evil android who spewed a milky substance and was hell-bent on conquering the planet is anybody's guess. Perhaps once the filmmakers have better acclimated to the realities of Hollywood, we'll enjoy that scenario in "Big Night 2."
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