Brooklyn Rules (2007)

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Critic Consensus: Brooklyn Rules' premise is old hat now, but strong performances from Alec Baldwin and the supporting cast are reasons enough to watch.

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Movie Info

Director Michael Corrente's coming-of-age comedy drama Brooklyn Rules unfurls in 1985, coincident with the early rise of John Gotti. Three young Brooklyn men of Italian-American heritage -- Michael Turner (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Carmine Mancuso (Scott Caan), and Bobby Canzoneri (Jerry Ferrara) -- make the pivotal, potentially irreversible choices that will determine their directions in life. The boys' periodic run-ins with a sadistic mobster type who rules the neighborhood, Caesar Manganaro (Alec Baldwin), suggest the ever-present option of drifting into a career of crime. On the surface, Michael courageously and doggedly bucks this choice, opting instead for the pre-law program at Columbia and a straight-laced romance with blonde-haired, blue-eyed coed Ellen (Mena Suvari), yet this path is not as antiseptic as it may seem, for he actually scammed his way into the law program. Meanwhile, Carmine idolizes Caesar, and his desire to emulate this thug not only compromises his own moral integrity, but threatens to jeopardize the stability of Michael's life as well by drawing him into a sticky web of criminal activity. While the first two men navigate these treacherous paths, the third friend, Bobby, stakes out safer ground with a low-key job at the post office and married life with his intended. Over the course of it all, the boys' bonds of friendship become stressed and strained given the divergence of their paths. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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Cast

Freddie Prinze Jr.
as Michael Turner Jr.
Scott Caan
as Carmine Mancuso
Alec Baldwin
as Caesar Manganaro
Jerry Ferrara
as Bobby Canzoneri
Robert Turano
as Mr. Canzoneri
Phyllis Kay
as Mrs. Canzoneri
Paulo Araujo
as Young Michael
P.J. Brown
as Earl Webber
Chris Caldovino
as Philly Cabrese
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Critic Reviews for Brooklyn Rules

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (16)

Aggressively derivative.

Sep 22, 2007 | Rating: 2/6 | Full Review…

A sometimes funny, occasionally maudlin coming-of-age dramedy that wants to be Goodfellas but might have been called Mild in the Streets.

Sep 22, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

However authentic and heartfelt this film's depiction of life on the meaner streets of the Northeast corridor may be, it doesn't begin to match The Sopranos' epic vision of violence, class struggle and upward mobility in a barbarous culture.

Sep 22, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/5

Whether it's read as an exclamation of borough pride or as a set of unwritten laws governing its residents, the movie takes a well-trodden path in chronicling the lives of three Italian American friends, circa 1985.

Sep 20, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Capturing Manhattan's essence is easy. But capturing life inside provincial New York City -- is something that eludes most filmmakers...And now add Brooklyn Rules to the short list of movies that get it right.

Jul 13, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Against all odds, it remains surprisingly watchable.

Jul 13, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Brooklyn Rules

½

Solid film, it should have been released in theaters everywhere.

Chosen 718
Chosen 718

Super Reviewer

½

This film tried a little too hard to be a cheap similar film to ?A Bronx Tale?, but didn?t quite live up to it in the way of casting, storyline or dialogue. Freddie Prinze Jr narrates throughout, which makes it all a little too cheesy for a serious gangster film. With Alec Baldwin as the main attraction in the film, I?m sure many people would have passed this one by. If you can watch this film without all the comparisons to other Gangster films, then it?s a passable story, but there have been too many better movies within this genre to become any kind of a contender.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

½

Cool movie.

Yinalí Ríos
Yinalí Ríos

Super Reviewer

[size=3]If you like TV mini-series, you'll probably enjoy Brooklyn Rules. It's a nearly perfect specimen of that genre.[/size] [size=3]It clearly is designed for the USA Network (or TNT -- We Know Drama!). How it ended up in theatrical release is beyond me. When I troop out to a theater, clocking in all that travel time, the last thing I want to see is television. [/size] [size=3][b]Alec Baldwin[/b] looms large in the print ads, but he's only in a few scenes. The movie belongs to [b]Freddie Prinze Jr.[/b], who's the quintessence of a television actor. I could even see him as a talk-show host. He probably could do more, but either he's chosen to limit himself or no serious producers will hire him. It's probably a little of both.[/size] [size=3]Prinze plays a boy growing up in 1970s-80s Brooklyn. He has two best friends, and we watch them experience late adolescence as a trio. We get the standard TV caricatures: one boy goes to college, one flirts with joining the mob, and one seems destined to work in the Post Office. Alec Baldwin plays one of the local mob figures. [/size] [size=3]The central drama surrounds the college boy's experience learning the ways of the Manhattan bourgeoisie (the college he goes to is Columbia), and the mob-wannabe trying to decide if he should join organized crime. One sidelight to the drama is that a lot of mob history is imparted. I never knew, for example, that there was a terribly bloody succession struggle whose victor was John Gotti. In the 1980s the last thing I cared about was staying on top of the NYC mob.[/size] [size=3]Surprisingly, there are quite a few good laughs in the script, mostly in the form of banter between the boys. One boy has an unusual flair when it comes to fashion. When he dons an argyle sweater, his buddy says he looks like "the Italian Fred MacMurray." I howled at that.[/size] [size=3]The greatest pleasure I had in Brooklyn Rules were the handful of times Alec Baldwin came on-screen. His mixture of menace and grace was quite profound; a heady cinematic cocktail that was infinitely more interesting than anything I've seen from James Gandolfini.[/size] [size=3]Baldwin's blue eyes never looked more piercing and scary. He gives movie-star charisma such a good name. I believe Baldwin has talent at the level of Sean Penn, but I sense that Baldwin himself doesn't believe that's the case. If he believed in his own talent more, I think he'd be rolling in Oscars. I sense some kind of hesitation in him that prevents his performances from really breaking through.[/size]

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

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