Call me crazy, but I have faith in comedy beyond the bromance. Call me a nut, but I believe in the well-done dysfunctional family dramedy that makes you feel good about laughing then immediately guilty about crying. Call me a loon, but sometimes I want to walk into a movie theater knowing exactly what I’m going to get.
I’ve grown weary of the Judd Apatow model of comedy, which breaks down to twentysomething American males emasculating themselves and each other, poking fun at a postmodern conception of male-female relations. I don’t want to see Seth Rogen talk about his penis; I don’t want to see Jonah Hill talk about the size of his shit. Don’t get me wrong: I love those guys to death. I just think we all need a break.
With any luck, that’s where “City Island” will come in. I won’t say that the preview looks promising, but the film is presented as skirting that difficult line between raunchy zest and family-friendly humor that definitely fills a certain niche. Namely, what “family” movie do you see with your family when you’ve outgrown “Cats and Dogs” and the latest Disney threequel?
“City Island” focuses on the Rizzos, a (presumably) Italian-American family with major self-image issues and and a penchant for telling lies. The script looks decent and the cast could be something special, featuring Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer, the dependable Alan Arkin.
This is not the future of comedy. For all intents and purposes, it looks like a film that is invested in the status quo. But there’s something gratifying about seeing a movie now and then that plays it safe, with ambition that is manageable rather than pretentious or overblown.
“City Island” hits theaters March 19. If I see it, I’ll probably see it with my parents.