It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"The Bread, My Sweet" tells an improbable love story in such a heartfelt way that it's impossible to be cynical in the face of its innocence. Filmed in Pittsburgh, where it has been playing to full houses since January, it now gets a national release, thanks to the success of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," another unlikely hit about ethnic romance. It's likely to appeal to the same kinds of audiences.
The movie stars Scott Baio as Dominic, who has two careers. He works downtown as a corporate raider whose job is to fire people at the companies he acquires. And he also owns a little pastry shop in an old Italian neighborhood, which provides jobs for his two brothers: Pino (Shuler Hensley), who is retarded, and Eddie (Billy Mott), who floats through life without direction.
Upstairs over the shop live their landlords, Bella (Rosemary Prinz) and Massimo (John Seitz), who are salt-of-the-earth types, loud, demonstrative, extravagant with affection, always fighting but forever in love. They have a daughter named Lucca (Kristin Minter) who, instead of marrying and providing them with grandchildren, has joined the Peace Corps and disappeared from their lives. Now the boys downstairs are a surrogate family: "Three years ago, I don't know your name," Bella tells Dominic. "Now, you are my son." Like many stories that are too good to be true, this one has some truth in it. I learn from a review by Ron Weiskind of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the movie, written and directed by Melissa Martin, "was inspired by a beloved Italian couple who lived above the Strip District bakery Enrico Biscotti, which is run by Martin's husband, Larry Lagatutta." The bakery in the movie is his actual bakery.
The first act establishes these people, their personalities and needs, and shows that Dominic is increasingly unhappy with his corporate job. Having opened the bakery out of love for his brothers, he finds he loves it, too--and the old couple who live upstairs. I must explain what happens next to deal with the movie at all, so you might want to file this if you don't want to know that ...