Young mobsters offer nothing new
By Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
July 13, 2007
If you have any doubt that the greatness of The Sopranos can be laid at the feet of executive producer David Chase, Brooklyn Rules will clear up the matter.
The new film is written by Terence Winter, who has scripted more episodes of the HBO series than anyone but Chase and has two Emmys to show for it. If anyone should know how to take a Brooklyn-set, mobster-garnished coming-of-age movie deep, it should be him.
Rules manages to be both personal and generic, a heartfelt saga of three Bensonhoist pals that treads sloppily on ground covered by Martin Scorsese and many others. When the Stones' Sympathy for the Devil comes up on the soundtrack early on, you wonder whether the filmmakers are consciously aping Mean Streets and Goodfellas or have just absorbed those movies into their DNA.
If so, too many clichés and not enough energy have come along for the ride. Brooklyn Rules is told (and told, a bad case of the narrative-track yammers) from the vantage point of Michael (Freddie Prinze Jr. ), a tough kid with a smooth exterior and big ambitions. He's at Columbia with eyes on a law degree and a Manhattan classmate named Ellen (Mena Suvari of American Beauty).
Back in the neighborhood, his two best friends are vain Carmine (Scott Caan, hitting some of the notes his dad did in The Godfather) and sweet Bobby (Jerry Ferrara, Turtle from HBO's Entourage). It's the mid-1980s and the outer borough mob wars are heating up; there's word of a new man named Gotti in Queens.
The local wiseguy is Caesar Manganaro. You can tell how soft Brooklyn Rules is from the indistinctness of Alec Baldwin's performance. He isn't on-screen a lot, but even when he uses a meat slicer to sever a rival's ear, you sense he senses he's been here before. So have we.
Coming of age with the mob.
• Grade: C
• Rated: R
• Running time: 99 minutes
I have to say I liked this movie a lot. Well filmed, and the actors do a great job at portraying the mobsters. The three young friends are a weak plot line, but overall it works. And how come they keep casting Freddy Prinze in these mob roles :o What an awful actor :wacko: