The Bread, My Sweet Movie Review

Love loves to love love. The Bread, My Sweet is a cutesy romance set within an Italian-American family, has a cute old matriarch (Rosemary Prinz) dying of cancer, a mentally retarded savant (Shuler Hensley), and an MBA corporate raider (played by Scott Baio!) who rediscovers his heart and soul by devoting his attention to the family bakery. What's not to love? Bittersweet to the point of cloying, and sappy past the breaking point of saccharine, The Bread, My Sweet is altogether too much Hallmark Card and not enough lived-in ethnic authenticity in the courtship.

Domenic Pyzola (Baio) is a hatchet man in the business world of unchecked ambition. In his double life, he works for the family bakery helping out his brothers. His neighbor Bella (Prinz) has become a surrogate mom, and a shoulder for him to lean on. But he won't have her forever. That soap opera device of terminal cancer rears its ugly head, and to comfort her in these ailing months Domenic proposes a false marriage to Bella's daughter Lucca (Kristen Minter). This arrangement is meant to last only until Bella passes away, but love is unpredictable and complex. Lucca and Domenic find they have deeper feeling than this straightforward business arrangement, and love loves to love love indeed...

Where is the line drawn between romanticism, earnestness, and corniness? The Bread, My Sweet (lamentable title, no?) is mildly appealing in the way of sitcoms. I found My Big Fat Greek Wedding no less insufferable. Both movies adopt surface stereotypes, then idolize them and ask us to appreciate them. Domenic and Lucca and Bella are cardboard thin types marching along to the beat of love, but there's no heat. It's all very safe and simple, and might fit nicely within the confines of a half-hour TV show. Scott Baio delivers a charming performance, but he's still the guy from Happy Days and still looks like he belongs in the safe zone of TV-land.

At least The Bread, My Sweet is inoffensive. Writer/director Melissa Martin never takes any particularly bold strokes in her visuals or her narrative storytelling, and maybe there's a comfort in sitting through a movie so single-mindedly predictable. It's a similar comfort to cooking, and the best scenes involve guys working in a bakery, expounding on the virtue of good bread or macadamia nuts. Cooking can be an art, and it can also be a relaxation. After a long day at the office (or Domenic's miserable Orwellian workplace), most people like to mindlessly cook their meals, or watch television, or pacify themselves in one way or another. The Bread, My Sweet is one of those harmless pacifiers. As if we needed something else to put us to sleep.

Aka A Wedding for Bella.

Sa-weet!

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : William C. Hulley,

Comments

The Bread, My Sweet Rating

" Grim "

Rating: NR, 2003

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