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Mafia Kickboxer

Kiss Me, Guido
Roomies at the Top: Anthony Barrile (left) and Nick Scotti get to know each other in 'Kiss Me, Guido."

Acting roommates wrestle with gay gags in Tony Vitale's 'Kiss Me, Guido'

By Richard von Busack

THERE'S ONE GOOD ITALIAN joke in Kiss Me, Guido (don't claim the title didn't warn you). A guy announces he has just broken up with his girlfriend. His brother asks, "When did that happen?" The first guy responds, "Last night." The brother says, "But your girlfriend's father's funeral was last night!" "Yeah, well, I figured she was cryin' already." That's about it for this forgettable New York farce about an Italian fellow from the Bronx who ends up rooming with a gay actor. Director Tony Vitale's movie could sub for an unsold TV pilot. The aim of the story is to get rid of the hero's homophobia in a little bit more than an hour and to set up an unlikely buddyhood that could probably be milked over a couple of seasons on the Fox network.

Frankie (Nick Scotti), in a hurry to get to Manhattan and learn to become an actor, mistakenly believes that the "GWM" in a Village Voice roommate ad means "guy with money." The GWM in question is Warren (Anthony Barrile), a more established actor (having appeared in Mafia Kickboxer 3). Warren is averse to rooming with a Stallone-worshipping Italian-American from the boroughs--"a Guido," as the slur has it--but later is able to convince Frankie to accept a part in a bad homosexual-themed play. Warren's support even helps Frankie overcome the crisis of having to kiss a man in one scene. He reminds him that his hero Al Pacino was both gay in Dog Day Afternoon and kind of gay in Cruising: "Are you going to be Al Pacino or Tony Danza?"

Director Vitale pads out 90 minutes of screen time with a misogynist subplot about Warren's horny landlady, Meryl (insultingly played by Molly Price). Kiss Me, Guido does have a few laughs--the play Frankie gets involved in, Fire in the Hole, is a funny parody of a really terrible play for voices; and there's an amusing nightmare sequence inspired by The Sound of Music (transvestites in Alpine dresses mock Frankie as he takes a bubble bath). Still, Kiss Me, Guido is a pallid farce; like most farces, it takes its energy from the audience's sense of the naughtiness of the subject matter. Maybe Kiss Me, Guido's problem is that it's insufficiently naughty.

Kiss Me, Guido (R; 92 min.), directed and written by Tony Vitale, photographed by Claudia Raschke and starring Nick Scotti and Anthony Barrile.

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From the July 31-Aug. 6, 1997 issue of Metro.

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