Mafia Mamma Review

When I first saw the trailer for Mafia Mamma the first thing that came to mind was the 1999 movie Mickey Blue Eyes. That movie revolved around an art dealer who finds out that his girlfriend’s father is a mob boss and how he gets entangled in their business while trying to get married. Mafia Momma may be a fish-out-of-water story like Mickey Blue Eyes, but the similarities end there.

Toni Collette plays Kristin Balbano Jordan who has a lot on her plate at the beginning of the movie. Her son is going away to college, her boss does not like any of the pitches she has for the pharmaceuticals they are selling, and her husband is having an affair. Kristin is trying to keep it all together while her phone is constantly ringing due to a call coming in from Italy. Bianca, played by Monica Bellucci, is trying to call Kristin to let her know that her grandfather is dead and she needs to come to Italy to settle his affairs.

Unbeknownst to Kristin, her grandfather was the head of the Balbano family and was killed during negotiations with the Romano family. He left Kirstin in charge of the family and she has no idea that her family is part of the mafia. Yes, Kristin, a mother who has never seen The Godfather is now the head of the Balbano family. Her not watching The Godfather is a running joke in the movie along with a spitting gag.

Toni Collette and Monica Bellucci in MAFIA MAMMA. Courtesy of Bleecker Street.

Toni Collette is just fantastic as Kristin. She perfectly balances the cluelessness of being thrown into the family business and the expertise of selling stuff that she learned from her pharmaceutical job. One minute you are laughing at how scared and frightened she is from everything going on around her and the next you are cheering her on as she overcomes these fears and faces them. From the moment she came on the screen, Toni Collette gives you a relatable character and you just want her to do well.

Monica Bellucci’s Bianca is the right hand of Kristin’s grandfather. Seeing Monica play the strong, second-in-command as opposed to the femme fatale is refreshing and I wish she was cast in more roles like this. By just saying a few words or motions, you can tell she is a woman you do not want to mess with. Bellucci steals some of the scenes that she is in and is essential in helping Kristin acclimate to this new lifestyle and being the boss.

Being the boss does come with its perks and also its dangers. Kristin is assigned two bodyguards that go with her wherever she goes and it can be humorous at times. Nothing like seeing two tough guys being forced to eat by an Italian aunt. Hearing her yell at them “Mangiare! Mangiare!” and them stuffing their faces is pretty funny. While the bodyguards are used for comedic effect they are also quick to protect Kristin when the time calls for it.

Kristin goes through an interesting character arc throughout the movie and learns to believe in herself and use her newfound status for good. She finds a way to create peace with the other families and restore the crumbling wine-making business that her family once ran. While she is able to create peace in a non-violent manner there is one moment where all her pent-up anger and frustrations come out during an attempted attack on her life. As great as it was seeing Kristin defend herself, the scene gets pretty graphic and might make you look away from the screen. Yes! It’s that graphic.

Mafia Mamma surprised me in the way I enjoyed it. What I thought was going to be a by-the-numbers fish-out-of-water movie turned into something that was refreshing and a lot of fun. Toni Collette turns in a fun performance and hopefully, we will see another adventure of Kristin Balbano, Mafia Mamma.

Toni Collette in MAFIA MAMMA. Courtesy of Bleecker Street.

Final Thoughts: Mafia Mamma is a fish-out-of-water movie that is filled with laughs, some heartfelt moments, and a story about finding yourself. The combination of Toni Collette and Monica Bellucci is fantastic. Collette just steals all of the scenes she is in and makes this movie fun to watch. Mafia Mamma lives up to its title and shows why this mamma is the boss.

Kid-Friendly: Mafia Mamma is rated R and I would not recommend this for younger kids. Kristin walks in on her husband and his mistress. There is plenty of bad language and violence listed below. While the story is humorous, I would recommend it for 17 and up.

Violence: The movie deals with the mafia and there is some violence in it. There are a few shoot-outs, people getting shot and bodies being cut up in a bathtub. The chopping up of the body scene is pretty tame compared to the scene in which Kristin fights off Romano’s number-one assassin.

Kristin Balbano Jordan (Academy Award© nominee TONI COLLETTE, Nightmare Alley, Little Miss Sunshine, Hereditary, The Sixth Sense) is in need of a change. With her son heading off to college, her marriage in shambles, and her professional life as a pharmaceutical marketing executive at a crossroads, Kristin is hungry for a life in which her empathy and problem-solving talents are an asset, not a liability. When she gets an unexpected call from a woman she’s never met, Bianca (international star MONICA BELLUCCI, Malèna, the James Bond blockbuster Spectre), tells Kristin her grandfather in Italy has died. Leaving California for Rome to attend the funeral — and hopefully spark an “Eat, Pray, Love”-style romantic adventure — Kristin discovers the family “business” is organized crime, and rivals are now gunning for the Balbanos. Kristin has to take over, per her grandfather’s wishes. Initially reluctant, the former “people-pleaser” housewife realizes that when not dodging assassination attempts, being a Mafia don has its upsides: A group that respects what she has to offer, a fantastic wardrobe, Bianca’s guardian angelship, and a break from endless Zoom calls. It’s a big leap for a woman who was too busy raising a family to ever find time to watch The Godfather. But as she becomes a MAFIA MAMMA, Kristin sees how the Balbano family — like herself — can go from old ways to new beginnings.

Acclaimed director CATHERINE HARDWICKE (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, Twilight, Red Riding Hood) makes MAFIA MAMMA a flavorful, funny, fish-out-of-water movie with action, comedy, romance, attitude, and heart, revolving around the remarkable talents of TONI COLLETTE and MONICA BELLUCCI.

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