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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 6, 2023



‘MAFIA MAMMA’ is a comedy with a bit of action starring Australian actress Toni Colette in the title role. 

She plays Kirsten, a sales executive for a cosmetics company who is having problems at home and at work. 

Just as her only son goes away to college, she catches her good for nothing husband humping another woman right in their own home. 

At her office, the men she works with regard her as someone beneath them and treats her shabbily. 

She then gets a call from Italy. Bianca (Monica Belucci), the assistant of her grandfather, who’s her only living relative, informs her that her grandpa has died and she must be present at his funeral. 

At first, she’s not too keen on going, but her friend Jenny (Sophia Nomvete) convinces her she needs to travel to get away from her troubles at home.

So off she goes to Italy and at the airport, she meets a handsome Italian guy, Lorenzo (Giulio Corso), and they flirt with each other.

But Bianca’s men who are assigned to pick her up and protect her come along and whisk her away to the funeral.

As the funeral cortege is going on the in the cobbled streets, armed men suddenly attack the mourning family and there’s a big shootout.

Kristen survives all the shooting and is told by Bianca that he grandfather is the head of the Balbano family that’s part of the Sicilian Mafia. 

Since Kristen is the only surviving relative, tradition dictates that she will now succeed her grandfather as the new boss of the Balbano family. 

Of course, Kristen will hear none of it and she wants to go back to America right away, but Bianca manages to convince her to stay to help settle the dispute with their bitter rival, the Romano family.

The very trusting Kristen, whose husband hasn’t bonked her for three years, believes that Don Carlo (Giuseppe Zeno), the current boss of the Romanos, is attracted to her.

She agrees to go with him to his room, not knowing Don Carlo has poisoned her drink to kill her. 

But in the end, it’s the oafish Don Carlo who consumes the poisoned drink and dies. 

The Romanos then send a notorious hired killer to murder Kristen, but she fights back when he tries to rape her first. 

She ends up killing him instead with the help of her pair of pointed high heels as her deadly weapons 

There are many more interesting twists and turns in the plotting but this is as far as we’d share. 

The movie works as a hilarious farce simply because Toni Colette gives an inspired portrayal of the bumbling fish-out-of-water character who has to cope with the most unexpected situations. 

She knows how to make an endearing fool of herself to get more laughs even in broad and slapstick jokes.

It’s quite silly, so for you to enjoy it, don’t take it seriously and just look at Toni as a woman who men usually underestimate but who turns out to be more deadly than her foes could have ever imagined, giving the film some feminist overtones of woman empowerment. 

The movie is directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who helmed the first “Twilight Movie” and the action-drama “Miss Bala”. 

It’s nice that she didn’t play coy and made Kristen a middle-aged woman who still has an active libido. 

Her fantasy is even rewarded when she gets to bed the virile Lorenzo, who claims to be a pasta chef but turns out to be something else. 

But Kristen also shares her own personal experience in marketing by trying to make some of their patriarchal mafia family’s operations legit. 

She creates a black market for lower priced real medicines (not just drugs) and their wine operation, a cover for illegal dealings, she streamlined by coming up with real, better tasting wines, accomplishing what the Corleones couldn’t do in the Godfather films, which Kristen says she has never seen. 

While Toni plays it for laughs, it’s nice to see how an asskicking woman might lead as the godmother of such a crime organization and not just be treated by men as a doormat, making the movie a send-up of what is traditionally a crime genre for men.