Lighten up, PC police. “Kiss Me, Guido” is a light-hearted, feel-good summer spritzer.
In the culture-clash comedy, director Tony Vitale lovingly skewers both the “Guidos” of the Bronx and the gays of Manhattan. The former location manager wields a flashy shiv, nicking both homophobes and breeder-bashers in this equal-opportunity farce.
Fashion model, singer and soap opera star Nick Scotti is would-be actor Frankie Zito, who works in a Bronx pizzeria, lives at home with his Sicilian family and dreams of becoming the next Sly Stallone.
But when he walks in on stud brother Pino (Anthony DeSando), who’s sticking to Frankie’s fiancee like cheese sauce to fettuccine, he knows it’s time to move Downtown. What the naif doesn’t know is that in the Village Voice’s roommate-wanted ads, GWM means Gay White Male. He thinks it stands for Guy With Money.
He sees an ad and calls up Warren, a gay actor and choreographer (Anthony Barrile) who’s behind in his rent at his West Village digs.
Warren doesn’t want a straight roommate (“Forget it! I’m not living with a breeder!”) any more than Frankie wants a gay one. But expediency dissolves their misgivings.
After a lesson in stereotypes, Frankie moves in, pretends to be Warren’s lover and in a pinch takes over his role in a stinker of a gay-themed play called “Fire in the Hole.”
Scotti, whose singing career got a boost from Madonna, is a charmer as Frankie. Barrile is solid as Warren, the actor-roomie unemployed since Mafia Kick Boxer II.
But Craig Chester as Warren’s friend Terry nails the biggest laughs.
Christopher Lawford, son of Peter Lawford and John Kennedy’s sister Patricia, handles his slight role as Warren’s shallow ex-lover with considerable depth. At first sight, he looks so much like his late actor dad, it’s disconcerting.
DeSando, as Frankie’s brother Pino, prowls the streets of the Bronx with his top down. He’s the bull of the Bronx in gold chains. Molly Price annoys as Warren’s libidinous landlady, but David Deblinger makes a funny phony, while Domenick Lombardozzi as Frankie’s pizza-parlor pal Joey Chips seems like the real thing.
Considering this was shot for less than a million in SoHo and the Bronx, the production value is high. Originally a one-acter done for the stage, “Guido” still has a static, theatrical flavor. But the little independent film, picked up by Paramount for distribution, is a mainstream mood-lifter.
xxxx “Kiss Me, Guido” Location: Lincoln Heights cinemas Credits: Written and directed by Tony Vitale, starring Nick Scotti, Anthony Barrile, Anthony DeSando, Craig Chester, Molly Price Running time: 1:30 Rating: R