The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984)

Genres - Crime, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Coming-of-Age, Crime Drama, Gangster Film  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jeremy Beday

Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts play two Italian cousins, Charlie and Paulie, who run afoul of both the police and local mob boss Burt Young in their New York neighborhood when a safe-cracking scheme backfires. Charlie, much like Harvey Keitel's character of the same name in Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets, is a dapper hanger-on at the edge of gangsterdom, while Paulie, much like the Robert DeNiro character in the same film, is a moronic, womanizing loser for whom his inexplicably devoted cousin must account in the end. Thin at best, the plot comes second to the study of character; unfortunately, the characterization is uniformly two-dimensional. The filmmakers seem more interested in ethnic stereotypes than a story. Incidentally, Italians are identified by their gold chains, poor table manners and wild gesticulations, while Irishmen are characterized as cheap conniving boozers, and WASPs can be picked out by their taste for canned soup and soft white bread. The atmospheric soundtrack (including several appropriate tracks by Frank Sinatra is helpful but not enough to carry this fatally flawed film.