Jane Austen's Mafia!

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 83:17 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Jim Abrahams

Warner Home Video
Starring Jay Mohr
Lloyd Bridges
Olympia Dukakis
Christina Applegate
Billy Burke
RRP $34.95 Music Gianni Frizzelli

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ?Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, in credits

Plot Synopsis

    Jeez, I must be getting old - these spoofs really just don't do anything for me any more. Hang on a minute - perhaps I am not getting old, the spoofs are just getting less clever. Yeah, that has to be it! And this is from the master of the genre in Jim Abrahams - remember such gems as Flying High? You got the gentleman concerned. Now those really were the good old days of spoofs.

    Plot? Spoof? Whoa there, get a grip! You cannot possibly want a plot in a spoof, surely? You do? Well, okay but it may take a very long time to sort the plot out from the rest of the garbage err film. Basically, you can guess what is being spoofed here by the title - all those wonderful mafia films like The Godfather (most predominantly) and GoodFellas. The broad story is the rise and rise of a klutz by the name of Vincenzo Cortino (Lloyd Bridges) to Don Cortino in the new country (America), mafia boss extraordinaire, and his family, most notably son Anthony Cortino (Jay Mohr). Unfortunately, after surviving an assassination attempt (forty seven bullets apparently), Don Cortino succumbs to the wiles of his grandson, leaving Anthony in charge of the family. Which is fine except that brother Joey (Billy Burke) is somewhat aggrieved by the old Don's decision and connives with hot stuff Pepper Gianini (Pamela Gidley) to kill Anthony - without too much success - not really knowing that Pepper is working for a rival family headed by Don Marzoni (Tony Lo Bianco). Add in an ex girlfriend of Anthony in Diane Steen (Christina Applegate) who becomes President of the United States, then marries Anthony (head of the mafia), and this starts to get way out of control - like any good spoof should.

    Along the way, apart from spoofing The Godfather, they toss in a few more recognizable films like Twister, ET (again, why does poor old ET cop it so often?), Forrest Gump, Titanic (with the good ship Il Pacino - pretty poor really) and that perennial favourite, Riverdance!

    Which is really all lost in the plot (ha ha!) since Jim Abrahams has sort of lost his way with the genre a little here. Some of this really descends way beyond gutter humour (or toilet humour if you prefer - which the film does). Still, Lloyd Bridges always manages to add something to this sort of film, although not quite like Leslie Nielsen, and is worthwhile catching. The rest of the cast is pretty forgettable, and the whole thing does not exactly fly like an Airplane but rather sinks like the Titanic - straight down.

Transfer Quality


    Well, nothing too special on offer here, sort of your run-of-the-mill DVD transfer really.

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, this is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is pretty sharp throughout and provides a decent amount of definition. The transfer is clear throughout, exactly as I would expect from such a recent film. Shadow detail is good and there does not appear to be any low level noise in the transfer. Just your typical, decent, run-of-the-mill effort that we sort of come to expect with DVD.

    The colours were consistently rendered throughout, although nothing that I would call especially vibrant. There was no hint of oversaturation in the transfer at all.

    Apart from one instance of a pan/zoom shot at about 14:00, where there was a distinct degree of blur to the effort, there did not appear to be any problems with MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts were generally noticeably absent, although if you really want to look very closely, there are some quite minor instances of aliasing on show. Film artefacts were not a problem with the transfer at all, which is rare indeed for a modern film.


    And if the video transfer was run-of-the-mill, then the description pretty much applies to the audio transfer too.

    There is only the one audio track on the DVD, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The packaging claims this to be a 5.0 soundtrack, but trusty old PowerDVD says it is a 5.1 soundtrack.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with the transfer at all.

    The musical score by Gianni Frizzelli left no indelible mark on me whatsoever, and when sitting down to write this review, I was hard pressed to recall whether there had actually been any contribution by a score. Either stupendously effective, or stupendously woeful, depending upon your point of view.

    This is not an exceptionally detailed soundtrack although the surround channels were fairly well balanced when called upon. There was not a huge amount of action through the rear channels at all. The soundscape is not especially vivid and you don't really feel part of the action. Still, apart from the lack of some serious surround presence, not too much to complain about at all though.

    Well PowerDVD says it is a 5.1 soundtrack, but my subwoofer says otherwise, as it went to sleep.


    Yeah right - its Buena Vista baby.


    I don't think I need to pass much comment on this effort.

R4 vs R1

    Region 1 misses out on:     Region 4 misses out on:     Now let's see - a production featurette for a so-so spoof, as opposed to 16x9 enhancement. I dunno, but I think Region 4 wins once again people.


    Jane Austen's Mafia! in the immortal words of my sister is a stupid film. That's good enough for me. I have seen much better than this, and $35 for an 84 minute film with no extras is the biggest laugh this film will get. If you like the genre, give it a rent, otherwise there is not too much to commend it.

    The video transfer is better than average, but nothing special.

    Ditto for the audio transfer.

    An extra, an extra, my kingdom for an extra.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
5th January 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL