Review: All’s well that ends well in ‘City Island’ | AspenTimes.com
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Review: All’s well that ends well in ‘City Island’

Stewart OksenhornThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
M 213 (L to R) Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies star in Anchor Bay Films’ CITY ISLAND.
Phil Caruso |

In “City Island,” by writer-director Raymond De Felitta, Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia) spends much of his time shouting at his wife, Joyce (Julianna Margulies). When they’re not fighting with one another, they’re doing battle with their kids: the smart-aleck high school kid, Vinnie Jr., and the distant, college-age Vivian, who fill the space between their parents’ screaming matches with vicious episodes of their own.For all this anger, it’s an odd thing to say, but “City Island” is an altogether too amiable film. Vince’s over-exaggerated tone conveys a sentimental nostalgia for things like thick Bronx accents and the simmering anger of put-upon, working-class Joes. The film opens with Vince’s voice-over, and he sounds as if he’s inviting the viewer into the action, not warning of a disaster to come. The biggest culprit is the soundtrack – virtually all upbeat tunes that signal a comforting reminder that, despite the ill will all around, this is a family that is going to come to a happy resolution.First, though, there is drama, plenty of it, mostly centered around the newcomer to the Rizzo household. Tony Nardella is an inmate at the prison where Vince works as a corrections officer. He is also, as we learn early on, Vince’s son from a long-ago affair. Perhaps feeling guilty, more likely feeling his home life could use some shaking up, Vince brings Tony into the family house on City Island, a fishing village that is technically part of the Bronx, but is more like a world unto itself. Tony causes the predictable spats among the Rizzos, but for the most part, he is a positive influence on the individual family members. Mostly, he serves as a reminder that each of the Rizzos is being held back by the secrets they are keeping: Vince’s ambition to be an actor, Vivian’s job as a stripper, Vinnie’s niche sexual fetish. With Tony as the catalyst, all the secrets emerge.And they all turn out OK in the end. Not that you didn’t know that already.

“City Island” shows Saturday through Monday at Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House, and is also showing at the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale.stewart@aspentimes.com

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