Title: Little Italy
Fix: You crave a romantic comedy and can’t stream literally anything else
The director of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Miss Congeniality cooks up a sizzling comedy about two lifelong pals whose romance is threatened by their families’ rival pizzerias.
Record scratch. Wait a hot effing minute. The director of THOSE movies listed above directed THIS movie? Who hurt him? (Or the more cynical question, how much did they pay him?)
Nikki and Leo grew up in Little Italy—actually, let me save you upfront the confusion I felt for minutes into the movie—they mean a Little Italy in Canada, not New York City. At the start when Nikki is in France and is like, “Boo, I have to go home,” and her coworkers respond, “Oh, you have to go back to Canada?” I legitimately thought for a time she was lying about where she was from…because French people hate Americans? IDK. Is this very American-centric of me? I’m sorry. Google tells me this alternate Little Italy is located in Toronto, so…there’s your fun geographical fact for the day.
Let’s try this again. Nikki and Leo, of the Canadian Little Italy, grew up as inseparable BFFs in their fathers’ joint pizza shop. But when they were twelve, a local pizza competition tore their families—and their business—apart. Now their dads have separate pizzerias literally right next to each other and ban their wives and their children from speaking across enemy lines. Nikki had enough of these shenanigans and ran off to a fancy cooking school in Paris, run by none other than Jane Seymour. In order to win a plot-device competition, she has to go home and deal with her kooky family and the hot friend she left behind.
I have, like, zero feelings about Emma Roberts as an actress. I forget she exists until she pops up in a movie I’m watching, and she’s not good or bad enough to make me like her or hate her. I did feel for her for a brief moment when she had to play soccer in the pouring rain wearing a teeny black dress while Hayden Christensen got to wear like, regular pants and a shirt. Sexism, man.
Nikki is the typical protagonist who can’t handle how small her hometown feels but yet there’s just something about how it that makes her remember her best self. It’ll be of no surprise to you that she ends up helping Leo run a fancy pizza restaurant at the end of the movie.
Unrelated to this Stream It, but every time I think of Hayden Christensen I’m reminded of a story my husband told me about his mom, how she loved him so much she had his photo as the background of their family’s desktop computer for months. (She was a mom of three teenage boys at the time, so this is how you know she was a master troll.) I know it’s standard practice to pair an older guy with a younger girl, but they are trying to persuade us that the couple is the same age when Hayden is clearly feeling all ten years he has on Emma. It’s…awkward.
Hayden is a part of the most uncomfortable scene in the movie. Someone in the rival pizza restaurant replaces the oregano with marijuana, and his whole family gets arrested for getting their customers high. A female cop grabs Hayden and makes him stand against the walk to frisk him, and the entire time she’s feeling him up and making comments about his body. Everyone in the crowd is standing around laughing and wooing and Hayden is supposed to play it like he’s annoyed he’s being felt up but haha he’s an attractive guy so he can stand a little inappropriate touching, amirite? And yet—would this scene be as “funny” if Hayden was a woman and a male police officer was doing this to her? Definitely not. It wasn’t amusing this way either; in fact, it was pretty gross and completely unnecessary to the rest of the plot.
Did you, too, need extra cash, Alyssa Milano? She plays Nikki’s very Italian mom and gets to talk about sex a lot. She and Leo’s mom get the award for cutest scene, when they meet up at a spot between their restaurants, pull out their wine glasses, and have a little chat about their morning (but since their families are supposed to be enemies, they have to pretend to hate each other in front of their stupid husbands).
You may recall Andrea from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She gets the honor for the most annoying scene in the movie. She and Leo’s grandpa are dating behind their families’ backs and at one point meet up in a Starbucks to avoid detection since no one in Little Italy apparently ever goes to Starbucks. When they get their fancy coffees they simply HAVE to stop their conversation and exclaim about how delicious the beverages are and why haven’t they been to Starbucks before!? Cringe.
Jane Seymour is not really in the movie very much (which I am sure she is very thankful for) but I mostly want to talk about how Seymour is 68 and still looks AMAZING. Methinks someone has a portrait hiding in her attic.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Individual Pan Pizza
You don’t want another person around to witness how hard up you were to watch this movie. I barely want to admit it to you, dear reader.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: A Nice Bottle Of Chianti
You have my full permission to get as drunk as you want on some nice Italian wine while you watch. Better yet, get a Grandma’s pie to go along with it so the next hour and a half doesn’t feel like a total waste of your time. At least you had dinner!
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: If You’re Desperate
Allow yourself to fall down this rabbit hole with me. In the credits there’s a special thanks to the Canadian film industry for supporting the film, meaning that it got the stamp of approval and some special tax breaks from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission because it helped support Canadian businesses as it was filmed. Some of the criteria to receive your Canadian Program Certification is that “at least one of either the director or screenwriter positions and at least one of the two lead performers must be Canadian”. So we have Christensen and the screenwriters (yes, I did look them all up to figure out who originated where) to thank for this, uh, sticky jewel in Canada’s maple leaf crown. I’m all for trying to support your own, but this IS the type of government interference that gave us Nickelback in the music industry. Please try harder, friends from the North.