Mafia Mamma Review – an off-putting throwback comedy with a feminist spin

April 12, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Film Reviews


Collette is amusing and does her best to raise the material. However, the script is too light on comedy, too heavy on gratuitous violence, and too lazy on character cliches to enjoy.

We review the 2023 film Mafia Mamma, which does not contain spoilers.

Mafia Mamma is a throwback to the turn of the century The Sopranos-inspired movie comedies like Analyze This and Mickey Blue Eyes. The spin now is this is a feminist comedy that is relevant in today’s socially conscious world.

However, this being from Bleeker Street pictures, an inherent amount of gratuitous violence for laughs simply doesn’t work. The result is something you’ve seen a dozen times before for any fish-out-of-water comedy that’s off-putting.

Mafia Mamma (2023) Review and Plot Summary

The story follows a 40-year-old mother, Kristen (Toni Collette), who is about to run face-first into empty nest syndrome. In more ways than one, in fact.

When her son, Domenick (Tommy Rodger), has left, she is about to kick out her husband, Paul (Tim Daish), for cheating on her. Then, like a life raft, she is invited out to Italy by a woman named Bianca (Monica Bellucci).

Why? Her grandfather, who she had never met, has passed away. After talking to her best friend, Jenny (Sophia Nomvete), she decided to go and have her “Eat, Pray, F*ck” moment because she has soured on love.

Notable filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke steps behind the camera for Mafia Mamma. The Thirteen director works with a script from a team from A.P. Bio, J. Michael Feldman, and Debbie Jhoon, based on the original story of Amanda Sthers (Madame).

The team here tries to put a spin on the mafia comedy by combining this with a feminist twist. That is because Kristen is told her grandfather was the head of the powerful crime family. This allows the lead character to be unacquainted, unsuspecting, and unfamiliar with her new surroundings.

However, much of the comedy derived from this plot is a misfire. One, a scene involving a mafia boss sneaking in poison is just gross. Another is a bloody and absurdly incongruous situation where Kristen turns the tables on an assassin.

Even a long-standing running gag of her new Italian muscle spitting continuously exists. This creates a comedy that tries to be a dark spoof of Eat Pray Love that is wildly uneven.

The few moments of humor are derived from Kristen being taken advantage of by Daish’s Paul and her being patronized by her bosses. Unfortunately, only a few moments are realized and traded for poorly underdeveloped rapport with mafioso characters. (Though I did enjoy the character of Mammone, who is the Italian version of James Tolkan’s Stinger in the original Top Gun).

When you want more, like Bellucci’s Bianca, she strangely goes missing for much of the second half of the comedy. Admittingly, Collette is undoubtedly amusing and does her best to raise the material. Still, the script is too light on humor, too heavy on violence, and too lazy on character cliches to be taken seriously.

Is Mafia Mamma good or bad?

Mafia Mamma is a bad film that puts too much emphasis on crude and grotesque humor that often misses the mark.

This is a recycled comedy repackaged with a feminist spin.

Is Mafia Mamma worth watching?

Mafia Mamma is not worth watching. However, if you’d like to take a chance, wait for the midnight showing for free when it arrives on your cable provider.

What did you think of the 2023 film Mafia Mamma? Comment below.

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