It’s a strange experience to be watching a ‘new’ film yet finding yourself questioning if it really is a ‘new’ film. Case in point is this one, Little Italy. Coming to UK VOD services in March 2019, it’s a film that is the epitome of the early noughties. The film feels exactly like any number of the romcoms that came in on a tidal wave 15 or so years ago; it looks, talks and feels like it was made that many years ago. And very little of this is in a good way.

Nikki (Roberts) and Leo (Christensen) grew up together. Their families were best friends so naturally they became best friends, bonding over their shared love of football and their parents beloved pizza parlour. When their respective fathers have a falling out the business is split in two, and so are the families. Friends became enemies. Nikki moved to England a few years ago, training to become a chef. Leo stayed at home to help run his families new, and ailing, business. When Nikki returns home to sort out visa issues, she and Leo find that sparks fly between them. But how are they supposed to negate a burgeoning relationship when their families hate each other?

To say this movie is as cheesy as the pizza that appears in practically every frame of it is something of a compliment. That’s because cheese is awesome and cheesy pizza is doubly awesome. This film is not. What this film is is a throwback of all the things that got left behind when that romcom tidal wave left our shores. You know that rubbish that gets washed up and left behind? Everything not-so-good that defined many of those films makes an appearance – bad double entendres, an endless array of underdeveloped characters, dodgy cultural stereotyping, ‘friends’ who make an appearance only to listen to the romantic leads moan about their problems and, there’s even a run to the airport.

And, if you still don’t believe me about the film’s questionable quality, the film’s climax takes place at a pizza bake-off. Yes.

There’s very little chemistry between the two leads and they’re not given enough development to be likeable. You end up feeling apathetic as to whether they will or won’t get together. Which isn’t exactly the point of romantic comedies…

Stale, bland and totally inedible, this is a film that has no idea who it’s really for. If it is trying to be Romeo and Juliet for millennials, there really are going to be a lot of unsatisfied customers.

Dir: Donald Petrie

Scr: Steve Galluccio, Vinay Virmani

Cast: Hayden Christensen, Emma Roberts, Danny Aiello, Andrea Martin, Adam Ferrara

Prd: Pauline Dhillon, Ajay Virmani, Vinay Virmani

DOP: Thom Best

Music: Mateo Messina

Country: USA

Year: 2018

Run time: 102 minutes

Little Italy is available on VOD from 11th March.