Where’s the Pizza?
Isn’t there a saying somewhere to “Never eat at a restaurant called “Mama’s”? Or is that “Mom’s”?
Long after “Papa” “left us”, “Mama” has also passed away and left her restaurant to Amy, a young friend and former manager of another restaurant, whom she used to take care of and mentor. Her will stipulates that Frank, the current head chef, retain his position. Mama’s (husky-voiced Lorraine Bracco) story is told in flashbacks in between the present-day story of trying to save her legacy. Her restaurant was struggling when she retired and it has been in a death spiral under the care of Frank. He was fired from his last job for refusing to comply with his boss’s menu. When Mama agreed to let him be in charge of what he cooked, introducing new dishes to her beloved if tired menu, it didn’t exactly overwhelm the critics or the clientele. His answer is to put a noisy arcade game in the dining area as if it were a sports bar. So no, Frank isn’t exactly God’s gift to chefdom or humanity for that matter. But boy, he acts as if he is. When Amy, the new owner comes in to take over, he is uncooperative and pissy. He refuses to follow his boss’s (Amy’s) orders which got him fired from his last job (he lied to Mama that he had learned his lesson in order to get hired). He also goes behind her back to interview with another restaurant telling his friend he will use his new recipes at Mama’s as a testing ground and then leave if he gets the new position. When Amy finds out that Frank wasn’t honest about what a flop his creations were with an influential critic, she tells him she is replacing his menu and hands the changes to him. He doesn’t even check it out and preps his own menu which causes havoc on the soft opening. In short, Frank is an incompetent louse and not the sharpest knife in the drawer either.
Now you may well ask, why doesn’t Amy fire his sorry A**? Why does she fall in love with him? Why is Amy, a qualified manager such a wuss and give him chance after chance? Why is the restaurant called “Mama’s Ristorante and Pizzeria” when they don’t serve Pizza? Why were Mama and Papa called “Mama” and “Papa” when they didn’t have any kids? Ask away, but I’m afraid I can’t help you. Now this wasn’t all bad. The cinematography was great, the food looked delicious, the acting was tolerable, but the looming shadow of bad (but very cute-I’ll give him that) Frank was just too much to overcome.
February 28, 2022