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Meet The Mobsters
cast: John Fiore, Vincent Curatola, Dolores Sirianni, Richard Portnow, and Ray Iannicelli

director: Larry Blamire

85 minutes (15) 2007
Fremantle DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
I have a confession to make; I have never seen The Sopranos. It's just that I don't have the time to immerse myself in catching up with it from start to finish, but it is on my to-do list. But, thankfully, that failing on my part did not stop me enjoying the goofy comedy that is Meet The Mobsters (aka: Johnny Slade's Greatest Hits).

In this mobster-depreciating offering, self-important singer, Johnny Slade (John Fiore), is given the chance of a lifetime when he is offered a regular gig at a new club. Little does he know, of course, that the club is owned by a mob boss... In Meet The Mobsters there are two really key characters on which the credibility and success of the entire movie hinges. First there is Fiore - best known for his part in the TV show Law && Order - as Johnny Slade. Thankfully, Fiore is superb as the vanity artist who is so wrapped up in himself he fails to see how bad his song-writing really is.

However, were it not for the outstanding performance by Vincent Curatola as the mob boss Mr Samantha, Slade would be nothing more than an annoying character in a poor film. Mr Samantha has devised an outlandish plan to overcome the attention of the feds who are watching and listening to his every move. His plan is absurdly simple; he hires a going-nowhere club singer to sing in his club, a singer so desperate for a big break that he'll do anything. When Slade turns up, Samantha gives him a song to sing, which in itself brings about an excellent scene where Slade explains that "he doesn't do cover versions." Samantha reminds him in true mob fashion what he is getting paid, but not before explaining that it has never been performed previously, so is technically not a cover.

After a couple of nights of the singing songs written by Samantha the crowds are being pulled in at the club and Slade's popularity is on the rise, but only because of the comedy in the new songs - which is a slight to his credible-artist persona, something that only he believes in. But, there is a second reason for the crowds coming in, and Slade puts two-plus-two together after reading the local newspaper, Samantha's songs are messages and are in effect orders on hits.

The performances of Fiore and Curatola really hit the mark, these are serious actors having a bit of fun and it shows, When Samantha then laments his oppressed musical past it's clear he has aspirations beyond knee-capping. Meet The Mobsters is extremely funny in parts and is clearly not to be taken seriously. For those how enjoy the absolute massive cannon of mob films and TV series this is a fantastic and light-hearted offering that you really should see. Hell, I have already ordered The Sopranos season one.

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