A Wiseguy Christmas
19 Jul 2022
Nino Cimino, Jaclyn Marfuggi, Chris Spinelli, Sam Dobbins
As the title suggests, this is a festive film with gangsters. To be more precise, it is a Christmas crime comedy.
Tony (Cimino) is a former New York City crime boss, who dislikes Christmas and has been placed in the Witness Protection Program after he agreed to testify against associates. Now living in Los Angeles, he is under the supervision of Marty (Spinelli), an FBI agent. Christmas holidays are approaching and Tony meets new people, finds romance, arranges a burglary and gradually rediscovers the joy of Christmas.
This fun movie bears similarities to the 1999 comedy Analyze This. The main character is a mobster (a recent one) and the screenplay follows him as he influences those around and maintains his illegitimate habits. He tries to convince Marty to enjoy life more, he starts a romantic relationship with Natalie (Marfuggi), a police detective and he meets David (Dobbins), a man who dresses up as Father Christmas for a Children's Hospital, who Tony convinces to collaborate with him in order to steal the money from donations to the hospital. While Tony is doing all this, gangsters from his past are out to harm him. The movie relies heavily on humorous dialogue in order to be amusing and it succeeds at that.
The acting is not great, which is not necessarily a negative element as the performances are entertaining, particularly by Cimino. Cimino's character is the one who steals the show, with his behaviour, personality and loud voice. He is a rather charismatic and optimistic person who goes through significant changes as he helps others and learns the values of Christmas. There are many interesting characters, including cheerful Marty and Natalie, the determined detective who becomes Tony's love interest and it is obvious that the cast are having fun with their roles.
The light-hearted music that is heard throughout the feature contributes in creating a joyful atmosphere.
It would be fair to say that at times things get a bit too silly, nevertheless, Cimino's entertaining screenplay makes this film an appealing viewing about self-discovery, crime, about enjoying life and appreciating the meaning of Christmas.