Tuesday, June 24, 1997


Jennifer Vandever


Directed by Paul Weiland

Italian trattoria owner Marcello works tirelessly to keep his fellow villagers alive. It seems the village cemetery is down to its last three plots and his dying wife Roseanna’s last wish is to be buried there. Unlike American cemeteries, Italian ones don’t take reservations. This would be a rather leaden comic premise to keep airborne were it not for the comic talents of French actor Jean Reno as Marcello. And luckily, Roseanna (played with sexy nobility by Mercedes Ruehl) suffers from an unspecified illness whose only symptom is heightened wistfulness. But as the body count begins to climb, the cast can’t keep the proceedings from becoming mired in morbidity. With subplots involving a bitter old rich guy, his hunky nephew, a slutty Roman mistress, and a Mafia hit man come back from the slammer, the film starts to feel like a wacky Italian version of Knots Landing. Though admittedly it’s a version with more charm and a much better locale.