Described as a hybrid documentary/narrative comedy, Lee Farber's The Lonely Italian has been picked up by indie distributor Random Media for a digital/VOD/DVD release on August 15th.
The film centers around Domenico Nesci, known to American audiences from his work on MTV reality shows That's Amore and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, as he attempts to deal with his inability to find love by setting out to place ads on every dating website in America, no matter how outrageous, with just his iPhone, his Italian accent and a dream.
The Lonely Italian is grounded upon Nesci's very real dates, though other aspects of the film have actually been scripted. The dating parts of the film were, in fact, self-funded in terms of the filmmaking as Lee Farber, of E!'s The Soup, followed Nesci for a year as he went on date after date after date.With that part of the film intact, an aggressive Kickstarter campaign helped to finances the rest of The Lonely Italian, though there's no question that the film's most effective bits are, in fact, those captivating experiences with online dating that Nesci commits himself to over the course of a year.
Also described by some as the Borat of online dating, The Lonely Italian remains a curious hit-and-miss feature film made better by Nesci's frenzied energy and the women he meets throughout the course of the film. The film's early segments, where Nesci consults with a variety of "experts," are incredibly dry and one's never completely clear if these experts are real, imagined, scripted or had zero clue what they were getting into and never quite adjusted to it. Regardless, it's all rather painful viewing.
The film picks up pace once the dating actually begins with an almost demented glee even more extreme than any of those godawful dating shows one watches on reality television thinking "Can this really be really?"
Indeed, the same thought occurs here.
The women that Nesci encounters range from relatively normal to not far removed from demented to completely desperate to outright hilarious. At times, the women seem so ideally suited to a project such as this one that you'll find yourself wondering about the film's authenticity. Heck, I don't know. All I know, is the film definitely picks up during the dating scenes.
The Lonely Italian is a great idea, though it never quite achieves greatness. An Emmy Award-winner for his work on The Wayne Brady Show, Farber's obviously got a knack for recognizing funny but there's simply not enough of it in The Lonely Italian. Nesci's also an obviously talented guy, though even with a film running less than 90 minutes he starts to wear out his welcome.
Come to think of it, maybe The Lonely Italian really is a lot like Borat after all.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic