Dinner Rush

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Danny Aiello, Edoardo Ballerini, Vivian Wu, Mike McGlone, Kirk Acevedo
Director: Bob Giraldi

In that age-old tradition of movies set around food and restaurants, well coming to think of it, there are not many food-based movies about. The only one that comes to mind is the excellent BIG NIGHT starring the ever-watchable Stanley Tucci. While there are certain similarities between the two movies, the premises for both movies are wide off the mark. BIG NIGHT was set in the 1950’s and centred around a struggling, small restaurant while DINNER RUSH is set in a successful bigger restaurant in present day New York.

We are greeted with the sight of a large, table full of the best that Italian cuisine has to offer. Seated at the table are Louis (Danny Aiello), his business partner Enriqo and Louis’s son Udo (Edoardo Ballerini). When Enriqo is gunned down by two Mafia hitmen from Queens, Louis knows only to well their identities.

We get a glimpse of how everyone working in the kitchen goes about their specified tasks, making the whole operation seem like a well-oiled machine. When one of the cooks is found to be slicing and dicing with a blunt knife, Udo immediately fires him. While Udo does what he pleases with his inventive nouveau cuisine, Louis does not approve, even though Udo’s dishes keep the customers coming back night after night. To compensate Louis keeps the compulsively unlucky gambler Duncan (Kirk Acevedo) around, as he is the only one capable of cooking a tradition Italian dish. With so many events happening within the restaurant, everything was eventually going to have to come to a head.

Why did Louis invite the two hitmen, who had killed his partner, to eat at the restaurant? Will Duncan resist the urge to bet on another ball game? Will tough restaurant critic Jennifer Freely (Sandra Bernhard) be satisfied with the food Udo will specially cook for her and who is that stranger sitting at the bar all night?

DINNER RUSH is one of those movies that works due to the clever script by first time writers Rick Shaughnessy and Brian Kalata. Together with the dazzling direction from Bob Giraldi, who used to also run a restaurant, the story moves at a nice pace. Witness the fantastic shots of the dozen or so cooks working away like there is no tomorrow. The best scene in the movie is when there is a power cut and the cooks have to work in the dark with the only light coming from their gas stoves. As for the cast, Danny Aiello is perfectly suited in the role as Louis and the minor characters themselves are so well cast, at times you just want to know more about them.

A perfect movie that is only spoiled by the sight of a boom mike that rears up its hairy head during a love scene. One piece of advice, eat well before you watch this movie.

6 out of 6 stars

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