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City Island


Stars: Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Steven Strait, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Emily Mortimer, Ezra Miller, Alan Arkin

Director: Raymond de Felitta

Feelgood-ish dramedy about deep-held family secrets. Vince Rizzo (Garcia), a prison guard or, as he puts it, correctional officer, who lives in Manhattan's City Island fishing community, has not one but two secrets. He has a son from a youthful dalliance, and nurtures secret desires to be an actor. His frequent poker games are just a cloak for acting classes run by Michael (Arkin).

Vince's daughter (Garcia-Lorido) has, unknown to her parents, lost her scholarship after being caught smoking pot (sounds a bit drastic), and works as a pole dancer to earn money to get back into college. His teenage son (Miller) is into plump women on porno sites, and accidentally comes across their grotesquely obese neighbour Denise (Carrie Baker Reynolds), who runs a 'big and beautiful' website where she invites customers into her kitchen.

Oh yes, and the whole family are secret smokers, each keeping the other three unawares.

Enter long-lost son Tony (Strait), now a convict with a string of convictions for robbery. Vince takes him home 'to help build a bathroom in the boathouse'. Very soon his wife (Margulies) has a secret of her own, deciding to start an affair with Tony when she thinks her husband has another woman. In a way, she's right: it's Vince's friend from classes (Mortimer) who encourages him to audition for a film. And, of course, she's harbouring a secret.

Garcia is exactly right as the blue-collar Vince, and lends much warmth to one of his best performances. The Rizzos, however, never quite convince as a family unit; their conversation at the dinner table is odd to say the least. Long on heart if short on brains, the film passes the time harmlessly enough, and its City Island settings are a star in themselves.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Anchor Bay. Colour.
103 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 Jul 2010