There’s nothing groundbreaking about lasagna. Nor should it be, because like moussaka it’s simple, familiar and delicious. If you try mucking around with it, well, it ends up being a pretentious disaster.
The movie Big Mamma’s Boy is just that, and it makes no allusion to being anything other than what it describes itself: ‘A comedy about life, love and lasagna.’ Although Big Mamma’s Boy is an extension of the wog movie phenomenon that has served Greek comedians like Nick Giannopoulos very well these past twenty years, it’s also come from the Italian tradition of Commedia dell Arte. But more specifically, from its famous character Scapino with its root meaning in the word ‘escape’.
Writer and star of Big Mamma’s Boy, Frank Lotito plays a mid-thirties real estate agent who seems to be doing just fine. He’s single, he’s good looking, charming, has a fancy car, his boss (George Kapiniaris) loves him and further more he can sing like Sinatra. The only draw back is still lives with his mother (Carmelina Di Guglielmo). At first this doesn’t seem to bother him much. And why would it? Well, he gets all his meals made for him, his shirts ironed and whatever love affairs he has, can be staged in houses he has a ‘for sale’ sign out the front of.
Then, boom, he meets the woman of his dreams, played by Holly Valance. Not only is she bangin’ gorgeous and smart, she’s a real estate agent like him and her sales figures are as impressive as her measurements. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
Naturally the only obstacle now for this true love to blossom is for him to escape the nagging mamma factor. Inevitably what happens next, are the classic mistaken identity tropes of one character coming in one door while someone else escapes out through another. Predictable, yes, but that’s part of its charm because we all know and love the characters who play out these typical scenarios for us. There’s the horny best friend (Steve Mouzakis), the family butcher (Tony Nikolakopoulos) who’ll have the hero’s balls for frying if he doesn’t treat his mamma right and of course the cougar house wife (Maria Venuti) from across the road.
The question is, has Frank Lotito and his team baked a lasagna fit for eating. Mostly yes, because there are plenty of scenes that are hilarious, but the script (Lotito) and its direction (Franco di Chiera) could have been a little more adventurous and edgier. There’s a little too much formula comedy being paid lipped service to here. A pity really, particularly when you have a host of a well-seasoned comedians ready to improvise the story to an entirely different level.
And although Big Mamma’s Boy is a low budget venture – it was filmed in very short six-week period- it is still a classic comedy bound to leave you with a big, fat cheesy grin on your face.