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American Cousins
cast: Danny Nucci, Shirley Henderson, Gerald Lepkowski, Vincent Pastore, and Dan Hedaya

director: Don Coutts

90 minutes (15) 2003
widescreen ratio 1.77:1
Momentum DVD Region 2 rental
Also available to rent on video

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
Two mafiosi, young Gino and middle-aged, affable Settimo, are on the run after a deal with some Ukrainians goes horribly wrong. Stranded in Scotland, they take refuge with their distant cousin, Roberto, in Glasgow. Roberto and his grizzled grandfather are family rather than Family: in fact, they run an ice cream parlour and chip shop. But it seems that both groups have something to teach the other: everything from dealing with loan sharks to the delicate art of fish frying... But flashy Gino has his eye on Alice, the deputy manager whom Roberto secretly loves. By the time the Ukrainians send in their Liverpudlian henchman, the situation is looking explosive...

American Cousins is a decent, gentle comedy enlivened by some good performances. The culture clash is predictable, but amusing, and for the home crowd, some smart lines about Changing Rooms and football teams add a few laughs. Confined, presumably by its budget, almost entirely to the interior of the ice-cream parlour, the film has a dark and claustrophobic feel somewhat at odds with its quirky tone. Making more use of Glaswegian locations, and the characters that patronise the chip shop, would have brightened things up considerably.

Gerald Lepkowski, as the stubborn, emotionally repressed Roberto, is an admirable romantic lead, and a perfect foil for Danny Nucci and Dan Hedaya's smooth Mafiosi. The always-dependable Shirley Henderson, and renowned Scots character actor Russell Hunter, as Roberto's mischievous granddad, both add to the atmosphere. It may not be hugely memorable, but American Cousins is an enjoyable, amusing evening's entertainment with its heart in the right place. Worth a look, if you're in the mood for undemanding laughs.

DVD extras are sparse: just a trailer, and text tributes to actor Russell Hunter, who died earlier this year.

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