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film review: big mamma’s boy

In the latest Ethnic Comedy to hit Australia’s silver screen, Frank Lotito plays Rocco Pileggi, a 35-year-old real estate agent and quintessential ‘mamma’s boy’ who, while still living at home with his overbearing, widowed Italian mamma (Carmelina di Guglielmo), attempts to woo a beautiful ‘Aussie’ girl. Unsurprisingly, mamma isn’t pleased.

What follows is a sometimes culturally stereotypical but always humorous maelstrom of mishaps and misadventures, and a feel-good story that will see you leaving the cinema with a smile on your face and, almost certainly, a craving for lasagne.

Big Mamma’s Boy, which was five years in the making, features a soundtrack of feel good Italian and English-language hits reminiscent of the 1950s, an appearance from Australian Idol winner Natalie Gauci, plus an all-Aussie cast that includes Neighbours graduate Holly Valance as Rocco’s love interest, Katie.

The film was shot in various Melbourne locations, including the ethnically diverse northern suburb of Reservoir, where Lotito grew up in his very own Italian family.

Addressing the audience at a special screening in Melbourne, Lotito, who wrote the film, spoke of the difficulties Australian filmmakers face in the competitive, overly Americanised movie industry when attempting to get their work out there.

‘The most difficult thing’, he says, ‘is you can make a movie, but if you can’t tell people about it, nobody will come and see it.’

Competition from the ‘big American films’, as he referred to them, is also a hurdle, which is where Big Mamma’s Boy’s clever marketing comes in.

As well as making the most of social networking sites, the film’s producers enlisted the help of what they call their ‘Street Team’, a diverse group of volunteers from across the country who have gone out on foot to put up posters, hand out flyers, and talk to potential moviegoers about how great the film is.

Evidently, this good old-fashioned word of mouth has worked a treat, with the film’s facebook page already amassing a 3,000-strong following.

‘It’s awesome to have that support’, says Lotito.

Big Mamma’s Boy opens in Australian Cinemas on Thursday 28th July. Check your local guide for session times. Click here to view the official trailer.

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