"Big Night," which has the simple, graceful arc of a short story, is about the brothers' last chance to keep the place alive. Opportunity arrives by means of Pascal (Ian Holm), their neighbor and rival, whose own Italian restaurant features meatballs and flambe dishes and a lounge singer performing "O Sole Mio." "The man should be in prison for the food he serves," Primo complains. But Pascal's place is wildly popular, while the Paradise struggles to remain afloat.
From his wood-paneled office lined with celebrity photographs, Pascal offers some advice: get Louis Prima and his band to dine at the Paradise and the place will make its reputation. Pascal even offers to call Prima and invite him to drop by. And with that, "Big Night" is off and running with a lovely delirium of dinner preparation. Like "Babette's Feast" and "Eat Drink Man Woman," this is a film in which food is half the fun.
|A Timballo is a molded casserole of rice, pasta, potatoes, vegetables protein and cheese, with a pastry crust.|