Toni Collette shines in the zany comedy “Mafia Mamma” as she portrays a mob boss adjusting to life as an empty-nester.


Unfortunately, even Toni Collette’s impressive acting skills are unable to salvage this cheesy crime comedy. The film follows a cliché plot of an unhappy American woman discovering herself and finding love in a luxurious European tourist destination, with a twist of mobster elements thrown in. It is directed by Catherine Hardwicke and based on a story concept by French writer and filmmaker Amanda Sthers, who also wrote Madame – another film in which Collette’s efforts to bring energy fell short.

In this story, the protagonist is Kristin, a woman whose son has recently left for college. She is dissatisfied with her job in the pharmaceutical industry and discovers that her husband has been unfaithful. After receiving news of her grandfather’s passing and inheriting his winery business in Italy, Kristin decides to take a trip there for a change of scenery. At the airport, she meets a charming pasta-maker named Lorenzo (Guilio Corso). However, things take a dangerous turn when a shootout occurs at her grandfather’s funeral and Kristin learns that she has inherited a mafia business.

Collette’s gift for comedy is always welcome and she sells this movie very hard, like the impeccable professional she is, and it’s a nice enough premise for an undemanding comedy. But frankly Collette is let down by Monica Bellucci’s very torpid and disengaged performance as her late grandfather’s mysterious private secretary, and the woman who looks as if she has been the one really pulling the strings. Bellucci looks as if she is thinking about something else in every scene. It isn’t long before you’re doing the same.