All most screenwriters ever want, the old Hollywood joke goes, is the chance to direct. “All You Ever Wished For” is thus cautionary on multiple levels.
Writer-director Barry Morrow scripted “Rain Man” and the teens-build-a-solar-car-for-teacher Halle Berry comedy “Race the Sun” back in the last millennium. “All You Ever Wished For,” his directing debut, feels even more dated than that.
It’s a corny cannoli of a comedy, a tale of a dying mountainous Italian village where no one marries because the place is under a Gypsy curse.
The locals all speak English with 1940s Hollywood Italian accents and the occasional “Andiamo!” and “BASTA!” thrown in. The town cute and quaint, all livestock rustic with barely a sign of modern civilization — and no cell service.
And the guys who show up to “break the spell” are a rich, spoiled American women’s accessory firm heir and the three old school Mafiosi who have kidnapped him, and then gotten lost.
They all wake up in this gorgeous setting and fall in love with the first living, breathing thing they see. For Aldo (Duccio Camerini), it’s a timeworn farm-woman. For Bambo (Massimo De Lorenzo), it’s a hunky local laborer. For Cetto (Fabrizio Biggio), it’s a dairy cow.
Yup. Udderly ridiculous.
Our hero, bratty Tyler (Darren Criss of “Glee”) has the bad fortune to tumble for the defiant, don’t-need-no-man Rosalia (Mãdãlina Ghenea of “Dom Hemingway”).
“Who ARE you? I LOVE you!”
Rosalia, “like her name, she breathes fire” he is warned. Maybe if he can convince his Dad (James Remar) to send HIM the ransom, instead of his hapless kidnappers, he can impress her with cold, hard cash.
“You, Tyler, cannot AFFORD me!”
Mob Boss Don Rossi (Remo Gerone, who played Enzo Ferrari in “Ford v. Ferrari”) won’t mind. Right? Right.
It’s a silly little nothing of a movie, picturesque, with only the supporting players showing us much in the way of screen charisma. And they’re just supposed to be local color. The mayor sleeps in the buff, in his mayoral sash.
The blind priest (Claudio Bigagli)? He’s the one narrating the story. Sort of. Such as it is.
A lot of people went to a lot of trouble to cast, build, travel and shoot this thing, and while the overall tone has a nice whimsy to it, I only laughed twice.
Once when the kidnappers accost Rosalia, looking for a place to spend the night.
“I share my bed with NO man! And never THREE!”
The other laugh you’ll have to find for yourself.
The movie isn’t much, but I’d love to visit the location.
MPAA Rating: unrated, mild violence
Cast: Darren Criss, Mãdãlina Ghenea, Claudio Bigagli, Remo Gerone and James Remar
Credits: Scripted and directed by Barry Morrow. A Film Movement release.
Running time: 1:27