Somewhere in Queens review by Bobby Blakey
Ray Romano made a name for himself as a stand-up and with his hit TV series Everybody Loves Raymond. Over the years he has been taken on a lot more dramatic roles to much success and now has his focus on getting behind the camera. For his latest film, Somewhere in Queens he is taking on multiple roles in co-writing the film with Mark Stegemann, starring and making his directorial debut. The film features a great cast including Laurie Metcalf, Tony Lo Bianco, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jennifer Esposito, Jacob Ward, Sadie Stanley, Dierdre Friel and Jon Manfrellotti, but does the film bring something special or will it fail to be fully seen?
Somewhere in Queens follows Leo Russo, who lives a simple life in Queens, New York with his wife Angela, their shy but talented son “Sticks”, and Leo’s close-knit network of Italian-American relatives and neighborhood friends. Happy enough working at the family construction business alongside his father and younger brother, Leo lives each week for Sticks’ high-school basketball games, never missing a chance to cheer on his only child as he rules the court as a star athlete. When the high-school senior gets a surprising and life-changing opportunity to play basketball in college, Leo jumps at the chance to provide a plan for his future, away from the family construction business. But when sudden heartbreak threatens to derail Sticks, Leo goes to unexpected lengths to keep his son on this new path.
I love stories that take on elements of real life when they are handled correctly. This is one of those films that isn’t about all the frills and excitement, but instead just people living their lives and trying to deal with family, finding themselves and the trials that are in front of them. It’s not a story we haven’t seen in some capacity
before, but just interesting enough to deliver something heartfelt and impactful when it needs to be.
Romano brings his everyman persona to what is clearly a personal story and delivers on every level. His dry delivery is perfect for this character and brings an awkwardness to his role that is relatable and entertaining to watch even when he is making bad decisions. The flipside of this coin couple is played to grumpy perfection by the always great Laurie Metcalf. They have great chemistry in a relationship that feels real. These two people care about each other, but also phased by the years and life struggles making it work. They want different things and have different views as all couples do and it just works.
The bigger family dynamic and supporting players bring that needed layer of humor and depth that helps to better understand what these characters have been around and deal with all their lives and you see why they are pushed into certain directions. On the other side of this all is a coming of age story following their son and his own trials in finding himself and love in a hard world to navigate. Everyone gives great performances along with Romano’s well done first time out directing to bring a film worth checking out.
Decide for yourself and check out Somewhere in Queens in theaters now from Roadside Attractions.