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With: Scott Baio, Kristin Minter, Rosemary Prinz, John Amplas, Zachary Mott
Written by: Melissa Martin
Directed by: Melissa Martin
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexuality, some sexual references and language
Running Time: 105
Date: 02/01/2001

The Bread, My Sweet (2001)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Moldy 'Bread'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In the opening scene of The Bread, My Sweet we meet three Italian-American brothers who run a biscotti shop. Though it's a typical day for them, they speak solely in stupid, expositional dialogue, as if they were meeting each other for the first time. That's screenwriting faux-pas number one. Dominic (Scott Baio) also works at a big, soulless corporation and pulls down the big money. He spends the entire picture brooding and sulking. His brother Eddie (Billy Mott) has loads of fun scoring with the ladies and retarded Pino (Shuler Hensley) hones his skills at making pies. The brothers bring food to an elderly couple who live upstairs, grumpy, crotchety Massimo (John Seitz) and his hard-working wife Bella (Rosemary Prinz). When Dominic discovers that Bella is dying of a cancerous tumor, he takes it upon himself to make her remaining days happy, even if it means marrying Bella's wayward daughter, Lucca (Kristin Minter), whom he's only just met.

For some reason, Lucca agrees to Dominic's harebrained scheme, and of course, they eventually fall in love for real. The scenario is so lame that even Sandra Bullock or Meg Ryan would probably reject it for their latest romantic comedy -- but The Bread, My Sweet takes itself oh, so seriously. The retarded brother and the sweet old lady dying of cancer are a dead giveaway to the film's heavy, heavy seriousness. And, just wait, the retarded brother gets his "big Oscar scene," in which he gets to cry and scream and run out the door. Move over, Dustin Hoffman.

The movie swings the heavy hammer down even harder in the scenes at Dominic's corporate job. He sits in a conference room, listening to the soulless suits talking about whom to fire and how much money they'll make -- while they stuff their faces with manufactured treats from vending machines. Not only does writer/director Melissa Martin show us the gooey food products in close-up time and again, but she has Dominic mention it out loud, "will you stop eating that plastic crap!" -- twice. Most of the dialogue made me want to pack raw dough in my ears, including every time Massimo says "Me no like" in his thick Italian accent, or every time Bella starts a sentence with "I think it's better," such as "I think it's better you eat now" or "I think it's better you open the window."

I think it's better you avoid "The Bread, My Sweet."

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