TONY N' TINA'S WEDDINGR
The real question confronting one with Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding is “Why?” Why take a long-running off-Broadway hit, whose success was solely based on its live audience interactive nature and opportunities for actor ad-libbing, and freeze the whole thing on film, as if the “play” itself were worth immortalizing like anything by Shakespeare or Chekhov? This movie was actually finished in 2004, and it’s small wonder that it’s taken so long to hit theatres.
Encompassing every violent, snarkily religious, crass and over-the-top cliché of Italian-American culture, set at a wedding that’s bound to go wrong in every conceivable way, Tony N’ Tina is nothing more than a white minstrel show and one is forced to wonder why this particular community is not out protesting it in force. But, then, look at how “The Sopranos” was embraced.
The only thing that could be considered creditable here is the strong cast writer-director Roger Paradiso has assembled to sink their hungry actors’ chops into this tripe. Hopeful bridegroom Tony is played by ex-New Kid on the Block-er Joey McIntyre, who, with his triple-threat chops, which he demonstrated in the largely unseen movie version of The Fantasticks, should be a much bigger star than he is, forced into piddling indies like this, and “Dancing with the Stars.” Likewise, Mila Kunis, who gave us all so many delightful seasons of sexy laughs on “That 70s Show,” is his not-so-blushing bride, Tina. Priscilla Lopez, the immortal Morales of the original cast of Broadway’s A Chorus Line, and a wonderfully varied veteran entertainer, is Tina’s widowed mother, and John Fiore brings a raffish force to the role of Tony’s divorced, strip-joint-owning father. These two characters hate each other’s guts and a large part of the film is taken up by their mutually vicious sniping.
Über-talented Broadway singing comedienne Mary Testa pops up in a habit to do a particularly tacky nun, while Adrian Grenier of “Entourage” gets to be a complete asshole as Michael, Tina’s disgruntled, rejected suitor, who lands in the wedding cake in the screechy climax. The least fortunate of all of these unfortunate if highly game troupers are Guillermo Diaz as a flamboyant (read: gay) photographer, and Dean Edwards, who portrays the officiating black priest with every obvious low-humor effect imaginable.