Ray Romano makes his directorial debut with Somewhere in Queens.
Everybody does love Raymond unless you are his brother and father in Somewhere in Queens. This upcoming comedy-drama tells the story of a dysfunctional family living in Queens, New York. It also marks the directorial debut of Romano, who also stars in the film with Laurie Metcalf, Jon Manfrellotti, and Sebastian Maniscalco. The cast also features rising stars Sadie Stanley and Jacob Ward, who I talked to in the video below.
Leo Russo (Romano) lives a simple life in Queens, New York, with his wife Angela (Metcalf), their shy but talented son “Sticks” (Ward), and Leo’s close-knit network of Italian-American relatives and neighborhood friends. Happy enough working at the family construction business alongside his father (Lo Bianco) and younger brother (Sebastian Maniscalco), 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. So 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 incredible lengths to keep his son on this new path.
Romano’s directorial debut is a slam dunk. However, I am also surprised we do not see Ray Romano in more films. He does pop up here and there and lends his voice to the Ice Age films, but we need more Romano on the big screen. He is always a joy to watch, and I have been an avid fan of his since his television days. Many may not know, but this film loosely reflects his life experiences. So there is no surprise when he nails playing a middle-aged man struggling to find purpose and meaning in his life.
The film tackles many topics moviegoers can relate to.
Family relationships, personal growth, and the challenges of everyday life in an urban environment are at the center of the story. The cast is fantastic and embodies an Italian American family to perfection. But anybody with similar family dynamics can relate. The film balances drama and comedy superbly, and the entire cast is filled with all stars. Sebastian Maniscalco leaves his stand-up microphone to play Romano’s younger but mean-spirited brother with two sons that echo the same sentiments.
Laurie Metcalf, who plays Romano’s wife, delivers a stand-out performance, which is no surprise. She did not even have to audition for the role. Metcalf delivered an authentic performance where plenty of mothers and wives could see themselves. The youngest stars, Sadie Stanley and Jacob Ward, have much screen time together and fantastic chemistry. Their relationship is convincing as Stanley plays the bold, high-energy girlfriend to Ward’s Sticks, the shy and awkward son of Romano’s character, who is experiencing his first love.
I give Somewhere in Queens 4 out of 5 stars. The film delivers an authentic look at experiences many of us have faced. It is easily a must-watch if you are a Ray Romano fan who crafted a movie around his life experiences. He showcases how comfortable he is behind the camera as much as he is in front of it. Read more Reviews on Nerdtropolis and Subscribe to our YouTube.