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City Island (2009)

tomatometer

81

Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 99
Fresh: 80 | Rotten: 19

Raymond De Felitta combines warmth, humanity, and a natural sense of humor, and is abetted by Andy Garcia and an excellent ensemble cast.

88

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 4

Raymond De Felitta combines warmth, humanity, and a natural sense of humor, and is abetted by Andy Garcia and an excellent ensemble cast.

audience

80

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 29,498

My Rating

Movie Info

A dysfunctional family living on a picturesque island in the Bronx spares no expense in avoiding the truth about their messed-up lives in writer/director Raymond de Felitta's dark family comedy. The family patriarch, Vince (Andy Garcia) is a prison guard who is secretly plotting a new career as an actor. Meanwhile, as Vince takes acting lessons on the down low, his daughter moonlights as a stripper and his younger namesake harbors a secret fetish that involves the family's 300-pound neighbor.

PG-13,

Comedy

Raymond De Felitta

Aug 24, 2010

$6.7M

Anchor Bay Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (99) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (80) | Rotten (19) | DVD (7)

Andy Garcia demonstrates real comic chops in this charming comedy of family dysfunction.

July 6, 2010
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is the kind of movie that could easily sink into comedy hijinks as broad and flat as pappardelle. But it doesn't. De Felitta... makes no apologies for the outrageousness of the coincidences and gloriously knotty relationships and secrets.

April 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Writer-director Raymond De Felitta has cut together a frustrating comedy, with the misunderstandings piling up like kindling for a bonfire that his movie never lights.

April 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Comment (1)
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The slice-of-life comedy City Island is a charming throwback filled with authentic characters.

April 22, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A funny, heartfelt look at families, relationships and the lies that prop them up as much as tear them down.

April 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Writer-director Raymond De Felitta is essentially offering a kinky-comic New Yawk version of a Greek tragedy here, and even if the whole thing is pretty implausible, it's also fairly entertaining.

April 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Andy Garcia is a pleasant enough guide to almost rate a visit to this City, but all the conflict here lies on the surface.

September 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Shared Darkness
Shared Darkness

an enjoyably offbeat slice of amusingly dysfunctional family life

September 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

An enjoyable film.

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Wacky film makes smoking, teen fetish part of the joke.

August 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

De Felitta chose well by casting 24-year-old actor Steven Strait, who gives the exasperated convict humor, charm, and sex appeal - something that doesn't go unnoticed by Joyce, or many of the women in the audience as well.

August 11, 2010 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

Melding the abundant misunderstandings of a Shakespeare comedy with the New York wit of a Neil Simon play, City Island is a boisterous charmer with a big heart.

July 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Everybody has a secret and is too dumb to work out what those secrets are, a specious bit of plotting designed to pad out the running time of this shrill farce beyond its natural sit-com length.

July 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Scotsman

This feature might work better as a television series, but Garcia himself gives the picture some much-needed ballast.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

There's nothing earth-shatteringly new, but you do end up wishing the characters well, and I was happy to have spent time with them.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

I won't make great claims for Raymond De Felitta's film - it hardly makes them for itself - but I will say this for it: as an ensemble acting workout, it exceeds expectations from the top down.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

An at-times marvellous muddle of high farce and low-brow chuckles.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

This isn't a revolution in filmmaking, but a rare kind of comedy where the actors keep it real.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

The script, by dyed-in-the-wool New York indie filmmaker Raymond De Felitta, is like someone's homework for a screenwriting course. The secrets aren't interesting and you know a big showdown at the end is a given.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: News of the World
News of the World

Garcia's gift for comedy is a true revelation.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Sweet and satisfying.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Impressively directed and superbly written, this is an emotionally engaging, warm-hearted and frequently funny family drama with terrific central performances from Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

Its revelations come too early, and many of its scenes are too long, but City Island is kept afloat by its unusual location and fine-tuned performances.

July 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

In real life, I find relationships with loud, argumentative people exhausting. In the movies, though, they can be a lot of fun to watch.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

This drama feels a little contrived due to the sheer number of issues faced by one family over a short period of time. But it's so refreshingly well-acted, with lively characters and some fairly outrageous situations, that it keeps us fully engaged.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Audience Reviews for City Island

Fiery, loud, and funny! Everyone in the Rizzo family harbors secrets: smoking, stripping, stealing. They're hinted at in cute, little montages, and then they explode in a huge, Greek climax that shouldn't work in a creative writing sense, but the humor and absurdity of it all is a juggernaut that compels the audience to just roll with it.

I only know Andy Garcia from "The Godfather III" and "Will & Grace," in both of which he played tough, smarmy guys, so I was really impressed with his insecure, sad-sack dad/wannabe actor. I'm always a little bit annoyed at Emily Mortimer - so dainty and puckered - but even more so in this film since she gets all the quirky, pretentious lines. *Spoilers* Furthermore, I watched this movie again on DVD with subtitles on, and they indicate that Molly changes her British accent to American preceding her confession. I couldn't tell the difference at all when I saw this in the theatre without subtitles, which makes me wonder how Mortimer gets cast for so many American roles!
December 30, 2013
aliceinpunderland

Super Reviewer

city island, test string
August 29, 2011
Anatoliy Dudaev

Super Reviewer

Perhaps meant as a look inside an area of NYC, similar to Brooklyn Lobster, City Island shows us a very dysfunctional family while giving us a narrative tour of the feel of the title area.

The script is reasonable enough and holds enough humorous moments, especially in the closing confrontation where mistaken assumptions collide, but I felt that, especially in the case of lead character Andy Garcia, it laid on the goomba a bit too thickly.

Garcia plays a corrections officer who is secretly taking acting lessons in an attempt to fulfill his childhood dream. He was going to go to college and perhaps pursue that dream, but then life kind of got in the way - so now he's taking classes on the sly, telling his wife that he's going to play poker on the nights he's taking classes.

While at a class the teacher (nice cameo by the always wonderful Alan Arkin), asks the class to pair up and then tell your partner your deepest secret. Garcia pair up with Emily Mortimer (who is perfectly cast), who slowly tells not only her own secret, but gets Garcia to open up about his own dark secret and then to act on it. She also coerces him to attend a casting call where, in a bit of unbelievability, he lands a call back for a feature film.

But reading between the lines, there is a tale of life and a certain brand of love that comes from life experiences. Julianna Margulies plays the "hurricane" of frustrated wife to a tee - knowing her man and loving him, yet frustrated by some of his failings. She and Garcia don't really communicate anymore and keep secrets from each other - from silly things like their continued smoking to much deeper things concerning feelings and desires.

In the middle of this there is the all too bright teenage son who has a secret passion for large women. I've heard of this and some of its variations, like feederism - but this is the first film where I've seen it openly presented as a mainstream, almost natural, obsession. Kudos to the scriptwriter for bringing this to light without making a huge joke out of it.

While not a work of high art, this film held my interest in spite of a bit of heavy handedness, combining enough of the underlying heaviness of keeping secrets and not following through on life, with a strong bit of natural humor.
August 16, 2011
maxthesax
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

    1. Vince Rizzo: My wife thinks I got a poker game tonight.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Vince Rizzo: ahh here we go..
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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April 2, 2010:
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Andy Garcia is truly a modern renaissance man. The Oscar-nominated actor is best known for his...

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