Mid-August Lunch” is an Italian comedy of manners. Gianni is a likeable but un-ambitious man who lives with and cares for his elderly mother. The film’s set up is that Gianni winds up having to house, feed and take care of three additional feisty, elderly women in order to satisfy payments owed on his condo and as a favor to a friend. One would think that with this premise hilarity would surely ensue. For the Film Forum audience with whom I saw “Mid-August Lunch,” of which I was the youngest member, this was certainly the case. There was lots of laughing throughout with some of my fellow film-goers pronouncing the movie “perfect.” If only I agreed with them.
I was struck that the audience reaction was in such contrast to mine. My guess is that there was a cultural or age gap between the story and me over which I could not leap.
To its credit the actors in “Mid-August Lunch” were all very good, especially the four playing the elderly women. Parts of the story were amusing but the material over all was not as engaging as it seemed to want to be, although again the audience loved it. “Mid-August Lunch” plays at Film Forum, in New York, through April 13.
Mid-August Lunch, director Gianni Di Gregorio, 2009,
Zeitgeist Films, 75 minutes