Synopsis by Mark Deming
A visit from a distant relative teaches a modern family about old-fashioned values in this family drama. Robert Micelli (Joe Mantegna) and his wife Marie (Anne Archer) are a couple living in Chicago with their two children, 15-year-old Bobby (Trevor Morgan) and 12-year-old Gina (Gina Mantegna). The Micelli Family is not as close as it once was; Robert is busy with work as he tries to earn a promotion, Marie has given up on cooking as a hobby, Bobby has started a rock & roll band with his friends and prefers to hang out with them, and Gina wants both a puppy and more attention from her dad. One day, Robert's elderly Uncle Nino (Pierrino Mascarino) arrives for a visit from Italy -- much to the surprise of the family, since Gina misplaced the letter Nino sent to announce his impending arrival. It doesn't take long for Nino to see that he's staying with an unhappy family, and he reaches out to them, reintroducing Marie to her love of good food, teaching Bobby about music, and teaching Gina about caring for pets and enjoying life; however, convincing Robert to spend more time with his family and less time worrying about work turns out to be a tough sell. Uncle Nino initially failed to find a distributor until the film's producers booked it into a theater in Grand Rapids, MI, where the film became a surprise hit playing to steady crowds for over a year.
dog, family-dynamics, house-guest, Italian [nationality], surprise, uncle, visit