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Let's all go to 'City Island'

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POSTED: January 7, 2011 9:18 a.m.
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The cast of "City Island" is anchored by Andy Garcia, a New York dweller trying to launch a new career while keeping his quirky family together.

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I’m your personal, handy, dandy film critic. I hope you’re having a very happy New Year. I aim to start 2011 off right with a review of a must-see comedy called “City Island.”
Believe it or not, at one end of the densely populated and urban borough known as the Bronx, there exists a charming New England-esque harbor town. It’s called ‘City Island’ and it’s the location for a film of the same name, which is available right now on DVD and digital download.
The plot of the film sounds a lot like the premise of a quirky Broadway play.
Vince Rizzo is a City Island prison guard. One day, while calling role for a new batch of prisoners, he calls the name of Tony, his illegitimate son, now a 24-year-old inmate doing a short stint for stealing a car. Rizzo had abandoned his son and the boy’s troubled mother when Rizzo was a teenager and his son just a baby.
If someone would just claim responsibility for Tony, he could do some months of probation out from behind bars. So, without revealing to Tony that he is his father, Rizzo brings the jailbird home to live with him and his strange family.
Rizzo’s wife is angry all the time and suspects Rizzo is having an affair, though he is actually secretly taking acting lessons. Yes, acting lessons. Their daughter Vivian has become a stripper to help pay for college because she lost her scholarship and her parents don’t know, while their son becomes obsessed with obese women, also unbeknownst to them.
All the dysfunction and all the secrets come to a boiling point in the film.
Julianna Margulies turns out a feisty, outrageous performance as Rizzo’s wife, and Andy Garcia’s real-life daughter portrays his on-screen kid, Vivian. The fat-fetish element in the story is a little too weird for me, but beyond that, I really loved this story. It made me laugh out loud and was touching, too. I hope it reminds viewers that you can choose to let life spin out of control or you can give in to the glue that binds us and just try to do the right thing.
My favorite aspect of the film is watching Rizzo as his impossible dream of becoming a real working actor comes true.
I’m a fan!

 

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