Media Partners | Contributors | Advertise | Contact | Log in | Saturday 1 April 2023

Little Italy Review: Love, Romance and Pizza. What's not to love?


Share This Article:

Hayden Christensen and Emma Roberts star as Leo and Nikki, a pair of star crossed lovers from feuding families. If this sounds like Romeo and Juliet you would be right, only instead of family honor... they’re fighting over pizza recipes.


Image Credit: The Movie Partnership

Nikki and Leo have been friends for years, growing up together in their father's pizza shop in the heart of Toronto's Little Italy. When things go awry for their fathers, and each opens their own shop to plot against the other, Nikki and Leo must end their friendship and become rivals as well.

Fast forward several years, and Nikki is now a celebrated chef and prodigal culinary student, working and studying in London under a head chef clearly modelled after Gordon Ramsay, complete with a terrible “idiot sandwich” reference. We learn that Nikki must return home in order to get her passport fixed, and has two weeks to come up with a new menu and earn the job of her dreams. Begrudgingly, Nikki returns home and of course, encounters Leo, her childhood friend and crush. He’s all grown up and good looking now, and it seems that the film really would like to remind us of this, making the choice to make flirty suggestive comments about his abs, and calling him “pretty boy.”


Image Credit: The Movie Partnership

Nikki and Leo’s chemistry is instant, and their connection is sweet, filled with flirty banter and friendly competition. What begins as a drunken hook-up eventually blossoms into a real-life love story, both of them falling head over heels in love, yet unsure how to admit it. There is a particularly lovely scene where we see Leo on his Vespa, bringing Nikki all around their small town, to remind her of all the fun they had together as kids. Much like Nikki, we as audience members are supposed to be torn - should she stay here in a familiar place with her family and first love? Or should she go back to London for the chance of a lifetime?

Upon discovering their love, the pair’s fathers quickly reach a boiling point, and ultimately it is decided that there is not enough room for two pizza shops in Little Italy. The gauntlet is laid down and an ultimatum is decided.


Image Credit: The Movie Partnership

The trope of feuding families and forbidden love are staples in multiple romantic comedies, yet in this case it feels refreshed. Despite some of the racial stereotypes and dramatically overdone Italian accents, the story is sweet but somewhat predictable. Whilst Emma Roberts and Hayden Christensen have decent chemistry onscreen, this is ultimately a film about two families, and the cast does not disappoint. Special tribute and recognition ought to go to Andrea Martin, who plays Nikki’s grandmother and brings a fresh sense of wisdom and hilarity to a role that is eerily similar to her character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.


If you are looking for something wholesome and so sweet it’ll nearly rot your teeth, this would be the film for you. Filled with every single rom-com cliche that we know, expect, yet love anyway - including a childhood friendship montage, cheesy narration, and Leo climbing up the window to Nikki’s bedroom, much like how Romeo makes his way to Juliet. Ultimately, however predictable the film may be, a little touch of cliché never hurt anybody. For fans of Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this is one movie you won’t want to miss.


Little Italy will be available to watch on UK digital download platforms from 11th March.

Articles: 29
Reads: 202312
© 2023 is a website of Studee Limited | 15 The Woolmarket, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2PR, UK | registered in England No 6842641 VAT # 971692974