Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Humble `Big Night' Turning into a Big Deal

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Humble `Big Night' Turning into a Big Deal

Article excerpt

Stanley Tucci's new movie, Big Night, might seem an unlikely

candidate for much attention. It's set in an Italian restaurant,

with no action to speak of and absolutely not a single explosion

or car chase. No real big names, either. But lots of food, and

lots of dialogue -- some of it in Italian, subtitled in English.

Plus there's an ambiguous, make-up-your-ownmind conclusion.

Not for everyone, huh?

"That's what they tell me," said Tucci -- the movie's star,

co-director and co-screenwriter -- in a phone interview. "But

it's for more people than I thought. Ninety-five, 98 percent are

just going crazy for it -- even for the ending. And I'm not

talking about just the cinephile, but the average guy."

Last weekend Big Night earned more money per movie screen --

$8,252 -- than even the No. 1 movie, The First Wives Club

(though there were 23 screens showing that movie for every one

that featured Tucci's movie). Big Night expanded to more

theaters Friday, including Jacksonville's United Artists cinema

at Regency.

Critics, meanwhile, have been rushing to praise it ("a sensual

feast," says the Los Angeles Times; while Entertainment Weekly

gave it an "A" grade).

"It's kind of become like a joke," the genial Tucci says of the

non-stop critical raves. "It's like we're paying them off. I've

read a lot of them, had some of them read to me over the phone.

It's pretty overwhelming. And they're getting better every day.

They started out great, and they're just getting better."

At a suggestion that there might be Oscar possibilities for the

movie, Tucci quickly demurs. "No, not really. But . . ." he

pauses. "Maybe."

Big Night is the story of two Italian brothers and their

failing restaurant at the Jersey shore, circa the 1950s.

Tucci -- who has played villains on TV's Murder One and

Wiseguy -- is the businessminded younger brother, Secondo; while

Tony Shalhoub (the sad-eyed cabdriver from TV's Wings ) is the

older Primo, an uncompromising artist behind the stove.

Tucci, who's 35, says one of the reasons he made the movie was

to go against Hollywood stereotypes about Italian-Americans. …

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