You think youve got family problems
Running Time: 93 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: France, United Kingdom
Bad-a-bing, bad-a-boom! Just when you think 'Goodfellas', 'The Sopranos' and the Godfather trilogy have taught us everything we could conceivably want to know about Italian-American swellguys, along comes a movie that shows us another side to them: the ability to lend a hand at the local chippie. In 'American Cousins', Dan Hedaya and Danny Nucci play Settimo and Gino, a couple of slick-haired mobsters who've run into a spot of bother with a Ukrainian underworld overlord. So they flee “Noo Joisey” (that's New Jersey) and head for “Glass-Cow” (that's Glasgow), where cousin Roberto (Gerald Lepkowski) has agreed to put them up. The thing is, Roberto isn't a gangster like them, but a mild-mannered fish-fryer with few interests outside stamp-collecting and eyeing up his long-serving waitress (Shirley Henderson). The plot is fairly standard fish-out-of-water (or should that be fish-out-of-batter?) stuff, and gets most of its material from playing up the conflicting stereotypes between smoothy hoodlum and Scots humbleton. But the film has a sweet, enjoyable centre, and features a stand-out performance from the mouse-eyed Henderson. With its likeable mix of characters, it's in many ways reminiscent of Bill Forsyth's magnificent yanks-in-Scotland flick Local Hero' – only with more shootings and pin-stripe suits. The film becomes increasingly far-fetched over the last half hour as a miniature mob war erupts in the pokey take-away setting, but overall it's a pleasantly enjoyable experience and won't give many viewers much to complain about.
It's Got: Haggis, Irn-Bru, and a crack team of neds.
It Needs: A deep-fried horses head in the bed.
A low-key but surprisingly entertaining little film that even gives us a new genre: mafia whimsy.