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Louis Cropa (Danny Aiello) owns Gigino in TriBeCa, NY, once a family style eatery where Louis also ran his bookmaking operation, with his partner, who is gunned down one night near the restaurant. Gigino has been turned into a nouvelle cuisine hot-spot by his son, Udo (Edoardo Ballerini). One eventful evening, Gigino's diners include the Mafia duo responsible for Louis’ partner’s death, who offer Louis a business 'partnership', acerbic art dealer Fitzgerald (Mark Margolis) and his entourage, famous food critic Jennifer Freeley (Sandra Bernhard) and lone barfly businessman Ken (John Corbett). While Udo conducts his kitchen team - including the inveterate gambler Duncan (Kirk Acevedo), who owes the Mafia duo thousands of dollars - Louis attempts to prevent the mob from muscling in on the place he has run for 25 years. 

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It’s not until you walk out of the cinema, perhaps, that you realise Dinner Rush is almost a real time movie. The evening meal service at Gigino makes up much of the film, adding an immediacy and sense of being there which grows throughout the film. Another unusual aspect of Dinner Rush is its point of view: the audience is not better informed about the plot than anyone else in the film – we are not sharing inside knowledge, in other words, which gives the film an edginess. This, despite its seemingly meandering approach. There were moments I wondered where it was going, if indeed it was going anywhere. But even in those moments, the film’s veracity, its actual restaurant location and its carefully controlled visual chaos provided stimulus. There is a good deal of truth in the film – especially about the restaurant and some of the characters – and an entertaining script keeps the film somewhere between comedy, character drama and crime flick. All the cast are superb: Danny Aiello manages to infuse his Louis with a more complex version of some of his previous characters, Sandra Bernhard and Mark Margolis steal every scene they are in, and John Corbett provides the film’s biggest surprise as the suit from Wall Street sipping bourbon and coke at the bar for most of the evening. The hubub and panic of a functional restaurant is so well captured I was waiting for my main course when the lights came up.

So get this DVD for the film alone, because the extras are horse’s whiskers, a flim flam promotional piece of six and a half minutes, and a two minute snapshot of director Bob Giraldi, the “famous New Yorker”. Neither is worthy of the film. The recipes? I’ll let you know when I’ve tried them.

Published July 10, 2003

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CAST: Danny Aiello, Edoardo Ballerini, Vivian Wu, Mike McGlone, Kirk Acevedo, Sandra Bernhard, John Corbett and Summer Phoenix

DIRECTOR: Bob Giraldi

SCRIPT: Rick Shaughnessy & Brian Kalata

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16 X 9 anamorphic; 5.1 sound

SPECIAL FEATURES: Making of documentary; The Famous New Yorker; recipes; trailers


DVD RELEASE: July 13, 2003 (Rental)

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