SYNOPSIS: The hottest comic in America, Sebastian Maniscalco joins forces with legendary Italian-American and two-time Oscar® winner, Robert De Niro (Best Actor, Raging Bull, 1980), in the new comedy ABOUT MY FATHER. Sebastian (Sebastian Maniscalco), being encouraged by his American girlfriend, Ellie (Leslie Bibb), spends the weekend with her wealthy family and his Italian father, Salvo (Robert De Niro). Despite having a culture clash between the two families, the father and son soon manage to discover the true meaning of family… 


Standup comedian Sebastian Maniscalco stars and co-wrote this comedy which is based loosely on his life as a son of a traditional Italian immigrant.

And who do you call if you need an onscreen uptight, unsettling father figure? Robert De Niro of course.

Sebastian is planning to propose to his rich girlfriend, Ellie (Leslie Bibb) at their summer vacation home during the upcoming weekend getaway. But first he needs the family ring and his father, Salvo’s approval. Instead of leaving the old man to celebrate the fourth of July by himself, Ellie invites Salvo to come along as well. As expected, culture and personality clashes await the father-and-son!

Undeniable, De Niro is the highlight of this comedy. The man has done this sort of trope countless times in the Meet the Parents series. And this time round, he is a grumpy, money-pinching hairdresser from Chicago who much prefers his son marries an Italian woman than a descendant of wealthy colonisers.

Most of the funny parts arise from De Niro’s character and as usual, he is a delight to watch even he is just being plain mean or traditional in this case. Everyone can relate to how Salvo loves his son in the usual Asian moms manner. Salvo can be everything from charming, witty to offensive. There’s a part about peacocks that we are not going to spoil here.

The jokes and gags are a mixture of hits and misses. There is a modest raunchy scene whereby Sebastian loses his shorts while jet booting. Not forgetting Sebastian and Salvo’s countless awkward clashes with Ellie’s mother, Tigger (Kim Cattrall), the matriarch of the family. The screenplay tries hard to touch on themes liked white privileges, family cohesion and how far will you go to cater to your partner etc. However, all these discussions on family differences, dynamics amount to nothing but mediocrity in the end.

Still, About My Father was careful not to overstay its welcome. It’s great Maniscalco knows how to wrap things up at the right time because there’s only so much material you can squeeze out of De Niro and Cattrall’s characters. Honestly, Maniscalco is OK for his first leading man role, the movie gets a few genuine laughs and De Niro is at least better here than his time in Dirty Grandpa and The War with Grandpa. Maniscalco just needs sharper material for his next big screen gig.


Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Comedy
Robert De Niro, Sebastian Maniscalco, Leslie Bibb, Anders Holm, David Rasche, Kim Cattrall
Director: Laura Terruso
Rating: NC16 (Some Mature Content)
Year Made: 2023



Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins