One-Liners and Outstanding Chemistry Raises About My Father to Comical Heights

About My Father still of Salvo (Robert De Niro) and Sebastian (Sebastian Maniscalco) with their arms around each other.

The comedy in About My Father lands more often than it misses. Not all the physical humor or characters inspire laughs. But with Robert De Niro and Sebastian Maniscalco’s chemistry, About My Father is a raucous ride even when it’s predictable. Leslie Bibb and Kim Cattrall add additional laughs, rounding out the entertainment as the working class and upper class come together, for better or worse. 

Written by Austen Earl and Sebastian Maniscalco, the film, directed by Laura Terruso, is about Sebastian’s relationship with his father. When he decides to propose to his girlfriend, Ellie (Leslie Bibb), his Italian immigrant father, Salvo (Robert De Niro), resists giving Sebastian the family ring. His father winds up going with them to stay with Ellie’s family, and hilarity ensues. A lot of drama and comedy comes from how people see the same thing yet have different takes. It might be a well-trod story, but Laura Terruso’s direction introduces a vibrancy to the story. 

About My Father Cast Is Almost Pitch Perfect

About My Father still of Ellie (Leslie Bibb) and Sebastian (Sebastian Maniscalco) dancing
Leslie Bibb as Ellie and Sebastian Maniscalco as Sebastian in About My Father. Photo Credit: Dan Anderson/Lionsgate

Robert De Niro’s comedic beats are superb. His character, Salvo, worked all his life to give his son better opportunities. Having kids work young, bargaining, and paying your way is not wrong or evil, but his view is extreme. Sebastian Maniscalco gives hilarious facial expressions and goes toe-to-toe comedically with Robert De Niro. Their relationship feels realistic and relatable. Parents often see the attributes they taught their kids, while in relationships, growth together requires change. Leslie Bibb, as Ellie blends that independent woman attitude with sometimes far too childlike behaviors making you realize that none of the adults here seem “grown up.”

Anders Holm as Ellie’s brother, Lucky, is one of the least funny in the film. His comedy doesn’t land and borders on obnoxious through most of the film when he is visible. Ellie’s parents, Tigger (Kim Cattrall) and Bill (David Rasche), are Salvo’s extreme opposite. They prefer to coddle and hand their children whatever they want. They are funny but have less to work with for laughs. But that’s what makes moments so hilarious, especially as most will understand Salvo’s point of view in many situations. This is clear during the country-club dining scene and Salvo’s remarks after. 

Similarities But Strange From The Other Side 

About My Father still of Tigger (Kim Cattrall), Ellie (Leslie Bibb) and Bill (David Rasche) sitting together in matching pajamas.
Kim Cattrall as Tigger, Leslie Bibb as Ellie, and David Rasche as Bill in About My Father. Photo Credit: Dan Anderson

In the presence of their parents, adults quickly revert to childish behavior. I think that’s why About My Father is so hilarious. Though Ellie wants to be taken seriously as an independent adult, her behavior does not always convey that around her family. There are words and actions. The closeness of the Collins family will be familiar to some folks, while others will experience surprise. I’m in the latter camp. Who jumps on a family member as a grown-up? But for all that, it’s clear she loves her parents. Sebastian loves his dad but worries about how he will judge and embarrass him—though he can do that on his own. 

I mean, Robert De Niro is in it. I cannot think of a film I’ve seen Robert De Niro that I did not either enjoy. Drama, action, or comedy, he delivers with gusto. Laura Terruso does a phenomenal job directing About My Father. She sets up sweet moments that show mutual love and affection, tons of laughs, and a warm story that parents may not understand their kids or vice versa, but acceptance is what matters. About My Father is a feel-good film that families can enjoy while pointing at each other while saying, “That’s you.” 

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