About My Father Movie Review

“About My Father” is a comedy film that showcases the talents of Sebastian Maniscalco, who not only stars in the film but also co-wrote it. 

Directed by Laura Terruso, the movie aims to capture the essence of culturally diverse families coming together through marriage, reminiscent of films like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” 

While the film has its moments of charm and comedy, it largely relies on familiar tropes and falls short of being truly groundbreaking or provocative. However, the presence of seasoned actor Robert De Niro adds depth and charisma to the film’s ensemble cast.

A Blend of Comedy and Culture Clash

The movie revolves around Sebastian (Sebastian Maniscalco), an attractive middle-aged man, and his father, Salvo (Robert De Niro), a widowed hairdresser with a reserved nature. Salvo holds onto his late wife’s wedding ring, waiting for his son to decide on a suitable partner. 

The opportunity arises when Sebastian falls in love with Ellie (Leslie Bibb), a woman from an affluent WASP family with a unique personality. The cultural clash between Sebastian’s Italian-American background and Ellie’s well-established family forms the central theme of the film.

Familiar Tropes and Safe Humor

“About My Father” treads familiar territory, drawing comparisons to the successful “Fockers” franchise, where De Niro also played the role of an emotionally restrained patriarch. 

The film relies on well-worn comedic tropes, ranging from exaggerated reactions to slapstick moments, aiming to elicit laughs from the audience. While these tried-and-tested elements can provide some entertainment value, they prevent the film from taking risks or delving into more thought-provoking territory.

A Mismatched Time Period

One of the film’s shortcomings is its inability to establish a cohesive time period. Despite being set in the present day, “About My Father” gives off a distinct feeling of a bygone era. The characters’ clothing choices and certain aspects of their behavior create an atmosphere that feels out of sync with contemporary society. This inconsistency becomes a minor distraction, hindering the film from fully immersing the audience in its narrative.

Ensemble Chemistry and Can’t-Miss Comedy Moments

Despite its shortcomings, “About My Father” succeeds in creating a strong ensemble cast that works well together. The chemistry between the actors is evident, and they play off each other’s comedic timing with expertise. 

The film capitalizes on tried-and-true comedy formulas, such as the classic setup of characters adamantly denying a particular action only to be immediately shown doing it. 

Additionally, there are standout comedy moments, such as Sebastian’s misadventure with a flyboard rider that leads to him losing his swim trunks.

Smart Scripting and Character Development

The film’s script demonstrates moments of intelligence and character development. It skillfully plants small details about the characters and pays them off later in the story, adding depth to their personalities. 

For example, Sebastian’s fear of flying in helicopters and his nightly cologne ritual with his father are subtly woven into the narrative, adding layers to the characters’ relationships and quirks. These well-crafted elements elevate the storytelling and contribute to the film’s overall enjoyment.

De Niro’s Stellar Performance

Robert De Niro’s involvement in “About My Father” is undoubtedly a highlight. His portrayal of Salvo, the reserved and somewhat uptight father, provides a reliable anchor for the film. 

De Niro’s presence lends a level of gravitas and charm to the character, elevating the overall quality of the movie. In particular, his scenes with Kim Cattrall, who plays Ellie’s mother Tigger, showcase their natural chemistry and leave viewers yearning for more compelling interactions.

Missed Opportunities and Unexplored Potential

Throughout “About My Father,” there are glimpses of stronger and more captivating storylines that the film fails to fully explore. 

Scenes like Salvo talking to his late wife or engaging in flirtatious banter with Tigger hint at deeper emotional resonance and more engaging narratives. It is unfortunate that the film does not fully delve into these moments, leaving audiences wondering what might have been if the filmmakers had chosen to take a different path.

Learn more: Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time


“About My Father” is a lighthearted comedy that brings together familiar themes of cultural clashes and family dynamics. 

While it may not break new ground or push the boundaries of comedy, the film manages to deliver moments of charm and humor. Sebastian Maniscalco’s performance is commendable, and his chemistry with Robert De Niro adds depth to the ensemble cast. 

Despite missed opportunities and a somewhat mismatched time period, “About My Father” offers an enjoyable cinematic experience that will likely appeal to audiences seeking a light-hearted comedy.

Leave a Comment