Dinner Rush Movie (2000)

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Director: Bob Giraldi

Writers: Brian S. Kalata, Rick Shaughnessy

Music: Alex Lasarenko

Cinematography: Tim Ives

Stars: Danny Aiello, Edoardo Ballerini, John Rothman, Frank Bongiorno

Country: United States

Running Time: 99 minutes

Language: English

Genre: Drama, Crime, Romance


Danny Aiello as Louise Cropa

John Rothman as Gary Lieberman

Frank Bongiorno as Enrico Coventie

Lexie Sperduto as Lucy Clemente

Zainab Jah as Adrian

Alex Corrado as Paolo

Michael McGlone as Carmen (as Mike McGlone)

Walt MacPherson as Detective Drury

Polly Draper as Natalie Clemente.

Edoardo Ballerini as Chef Udo Copa

Vivian Wu as Nicole Chan

Manny Perez as Gabriel

Ajay Naidu as Ademir the Metre’d

Summer Phoenix as Marti Wellington

Kirk Avecedo as Duncan

Summer Phoenix as Marti


The film begins with a prologue whereby three partners Enrico Coventie (Frank Bongiorno), Louis Cropa (Danny Aiello), Gary Lieberman (John Rothman) are enjoying a meal. The former leaves first and goes to pick up his grandchild from school. Unfortunately, he is hunted down by gangsters and killed. Later on, his partner Louise shows up at the crime scene and confirms it was his friend’s body.

The rest of the film is presented within the walls of a busy, fashionable Tribeca trattoria on a typically packed Tuesday night. Mercurial Chef Udo Copa (Edoardo Ballerini) bosses around the traditionalist sous chef Duncan (Kirk Avecedo) and the entire kitchen at will. His father, Louise Cropa has owned the place for decades and he also runs a bookmaking operation on the side.

Udo has managed to change the menu from the traditional delicacies to more modern foods. He even thinks that his father should let him manage the entire place, but his father is more than annoyed by his changes.

Duncan prepares sausage and peppers for Louis every night he is present at the restaurant. The gambling obsessed Dancun currently owes money to Louis as well as two Queens’ gangsters Paolo (Alex Corrado) and Carmen (Michael McGlone). The two mafias from Queens muscle into the restaurant for a meal. They are the ones that executed Enrico.

Coincidentally, both Udo and Duncan are having an affair with the restaurant’s hostess, Nicole (Vivian Wu). Despite the fact that Duncan owes $6,500 to the mafias he still makes another bad bet. Gutsy waitress, Marti is at the service of a demanding customer.

Louis finally meets the two mafias in whom Duncan owes. He urges them to leave Duncan alone since he is just a pathological gambler. Carmen proposes to a business partnership with Louis which would see the mafias run the restaurant. A slight chaos erupts when lights are out but events return to normalcy when candles are set up.

Detective Drury confronts the two mafias who seem suspicious. Out of fury the two mafias ask Louis to follow them downstairs so as to express their discontent. However, they are both shot dead at the washrooms. Detective Drury later discovers their bodies and he protects the crime scene.

The film ends with guests recording statements with the press and Louis appreciating that justice has finally been served.


Dinner Rush is one of the best movies in the category of little known films. Being Bob Giraldi’s only direction in the past two decades, he amazed everyone with this gorgeous piece. The director shows great brilliance with a prologue that instantly captures your attention.

The actual movie is filmed on his own restaurant in Tribeca. There are so many subplots to the plot, food delicacies, Italian drama, and a typical hotel setting. The creative use of music especially during the murder scenes creates a somber mood to the viewer.

Great character development and excellent acting was a key feature in the film. Louis Cropa the restaurant owner totally denies rumors of him being tied to mafias. He treats one of his workers as his own son. It is through him that revenge for his friend’s murder is found.

Udo is a strict and immoral chef who wants to take over the running of the restaurant. Carmen and Paolo play two Italian mafias ready to pounce on anyone that meddles with them. Duncan is a pathological gambler whose indulgence has landed him in trouble. The whole cast including the guests show harmony in their respective roles.

Set almost entirely in an Italian restaurant, the cinematographer perfectly displayed all that can be expected on a busy hotel night. Clear lighting, hotel dressing, Italian accent and foods were all features in the film. It is brilliant that the whole film is about events happening in a single night.

The drama of contrast and change dominated in the film, this includes the father vs son ideas, mafia vs city punks and the informal vs formal pursuit of justice.


A quite impressive film but it may not be suitable for general audience. Scenes of brutal murder and sexual illustrations dominated in some sections. However, this is not a major flaw since this what the genre depicts.

For anyone wishing for a blend of Italian crime drama and romance, a copy of Dinner Rush is your match. A rating 7.3/10 seconds the remarkable plaudits I have made for the movie.

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