Emmy Award(r)-winner James Gandolfini (All The King's Men, TV's "The Sopranos"), Oscar(r)-winner Susan Sarandon (Shall We Dance, Stepmom), Oscar(r)-nominated Kate Winslet (Titanic, Finding Neverland), Steve Buscemi (Fargo, Reservoir Dogs), Mandy Moore (Chasing Liberty, The Princess Diaries), Emmy Award(r)-winner Bobby Cannavale (Snakes on a Plane, The Bone Collector), Golden Globe Award(r)-winner Mary-Louise Parker (Red Dragon, Fried Green Tomatoes), Aida Turturro (Deep Blue Sea, Sleepers), Emmy Award(r)-winner Eddie Izzard (My Super-Ex Girlfriend, Ocean's Twelve) and Oscar(r)-winner Christopher Walken (Click, The Wedding Crashers) lead an all-star cast in this down-and-dirty modern day musical set which tells the story of one man's journey into infidelity and redemption. Nick (Gandolfini) is an ironworker who builds and repairs bridges. He's married to Kitty (Sarandon), a dressmaker, a strong and gentle woman with whom he has three daughters and must struggle to cope with her husband'
Some musicals target families, others set their sights on more mature audiences (think Chicago
). To judge by appearances, John Turturro's suburban operetta has little in common with Rob Marshall's urban razzle-dazzler, except it also aims for the melodrama-meets-film noir set--and features as much graphic language as Goodfellas
. James Gandolfini sets the scene as Queens ironworker Nick Murder (Steve Buscemi plays his best pal). Nick's marriage to Kitty (Susan Sarandon) has hit the skids. His relationships with his daughters (Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, and John's cousin, Aida Turturro) are just as fraught. Then again, all women, including fiery mistress Tula (Kate Winslet), befuddle the lug. As in the works of Dennis Potter, characters express themselves through song--in this case, a combination of singing and lip-synching. And when they burst into a tune, everyone joins in, from sanitation workers to welders. The material ranges from crooner standards ("A Man without Love") to rock classics ("Piece of My Heart"). Like Potter's The Singing Detective
, fantasy also commingles with reality (Kitty envisions her first love returning from the dead). Turturro's third directorial effort arrives as a labor of love--a difficult labor. When studio restructuring caused delays, he assumed distribution duties himself. Just as passion is rarely tidy, his Coen Brothers-produced movie can be messy--the tender moments play better than the boisterous ones--but the director's passion for his material shines through. It can also be very funny, especially when Cousin Bo (Christopher Walken) shakes a leg to Tom Jones's "Delilah." --Kathleen C. Fennessy