Monday, April 13, 2009

Wisegal: Grade C

Wisegal (2008)
Alyssa Milano, Jason Gedrick, James Caan; Director Jerry Ciccoritti.

The Mafia movie is just about as worn out as the western, even when it involves a woman member of the mob. But this film just different enough to be interesting. A poor woman (Milano), makes a few bucks selling cartons of cigarettes on street corners for a friend. It turns out that the friend works for the mob and is skimming the cigs. Soon enough, he sleeps with the fishes. But the head wiseguy (Gedrick) likes the woman’s spunk, sassy talk and good looks, so he offers to let her run a dumpy Italian diner he recently “acquired.” She is skeptical but desperate, and goes for it. In the least plausible part of the story, she suddenly is full of design expertise and business acumen and miraculously turns the place into a successful night club (no mention of where the capital improvements came from). Her success attracts the attention of capo de capo Caan, who could play a mobster in his sleep, as he does here. He wants the woman to smuggle drug money from Canada. Eventually, everything goes wrong, as you knew it would, and she is cornered, holding a gun at Gedrick’s head. But the ending, though not believable, is more clever than you might suspect. Milano gives a reasonable performance. She has potential for greater things. The other players are not distinctive in any way. Production values are high and overall, the movie is enjoyable if forgettable.

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