A young couple who witness a police chase find dropped loot and hide it, becoming the target of crooks and police.
Critics tripped all over their big feet to praise Big Night
and in doing so performed a grave disservice to this fine little film. They fooled audiences into believing it was a "super movie" instead of a home movie buoyed by friends and family. Consequently, many viewers were disappointed. Big Night
is an intimate look at the immigrant struggle to attain the American Dream, set in New Jersey in the 1950s. Its disproportionate success gave co-directors Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott, who also star in the picture, the green light to follow up with a smug, unsuccessful second venture called The Imposters
. Tucci wrote Big Night
with his cousin Joseph Tropiano and they based the story on the experience of growing up in a large, proud Italian family. The brothers in Big Night
--chef Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and businessman Secondo (Tucci)--have come to New Jersey to open a bistro named The Paradise that serves the finest in traditional, authentic Italian cuisine. Their every move is foiled by rival restaurant Pascal's, which serves mile-high servings of spaghetti and meatballs and flasks of bad Chianti at exorbitant prices. Primo is disgusted by the fact that Americans want cheap pasta instead of risotto, so Secondo hatches a plan to boost business: rumour has it bandleader Louis Prima is travelling through and will dine at The Paradise that very night. Secondo gambles to bring the finest dinner ever cooked--at the risk of losing his shirt and being reduced to exile to the old country with his tail between his legs. Big Night
is a film that will easily invite comparisons to other "food" fare like Babette's Feast
and Eat Drink Man Woman
but, though Tucci insists his story is "about the struggle between art and commerce and the risk of staying true to yourself", the media refused to let it stay a small, comparative work. The movie, and the buzza round it, became a parable for the essence of the film itself: art vs. commerce. --Paula Nechak
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.