Kiss Me, Guido

United States - 1997

Movie Review By Heather Clisby

"Kiss Me, Guido", the new film by Tony Vitale, is a celluloid exercise in stereotypes. Genders, cultures and sexual orientations are brought into the light offering new and hilarious insights into old ideas.

Nick Scotti is Frankie, a pizza cook who entertains friends with Stallone, Pacino and DeNiro impressions. When he catches his skanky girlfriend screwing his slimy brother on the kitchen table, he leaves for Manhattan to finally chase his dream of becoming an actor.

Meanwhile, a successful gay actor on the rebound, Warren, played by Anthony Barille, has fallen behind on his Manhattan rent. His dutiful friend, Terence, places an ad for a GWM -- gay white male -- to share the space immediately.

Frankie calls and, after some confusion on the phone, determines that GWM stands for "guy with money." Naturally, more confusion ensues with each sexual orientation displaying open disgust for the other.

The film's title refers to the gay male term for a straight male, a guido. When Frankie takes on the role of a gay man to break into theater, he is required to kiss another man in the play's final scene. For Frankie, it is a solid brick wall of revulsion he must break through if he can call himself an actor.

With a superb supporting cast and clever writing, "Kiss Me, Guido" runs on many legs. Each character is so fully drawn, no matter how small, that we start to suspect Vitale didn't bother hiring actors at all, just some people who were willing to exaggerate themselves a little.

Frankie's despicable brother, Pinot, for example, applies his priceless brand of macho logic to the dumping of his girlfriend the night before at her own father's funeral: "Hey, I figured she was already crying."

Without being a moralistic bowl of mush, "Kiss Me, Guido" ultimately explores avenues of self-pride and the meaning of real friendship. Thankfully, we aren't hit over the head with it and the pure hilarity of the characters gives the film solid bone. Take your favorite unsuspecting homophobe to a theater near you, they just might end up laughing at themselves.

© 1997 Heather Clisby Air Date: 7/97

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