The first-time writer/director brother team of Joe and Anthony Russo display a sensibility somewhere between the Coens and the Zuckers in this loose remake of Mario Monicelliís classic 1958 farce Big Deal on Madonna Street, and theyíre aided and abetted by a crackerjack cast.
Set in the fictitious, benighted Cleveland neighborhood of the title, the film has Sam Rockwell in the Vittorio Gassman role as Pero, a talentless boxer who by default takes on the leadership of a crew of losers involved in a foolproof heist. William H. Macy has the Marcello Mastroianni part as the father of an infant whose Snugli becomes a running joke, as do the sadly soiled briefs worn by Michael Jeterís broken-down Toto. The Russos donít shy from the current morass of gross-out humor, they transcend it ó both with their sweetly appealing, if hopelessly absurd, characters and their gag sequences that are not just one-shot snickers but carefully orchestrated mini-symphonies of hilarity. Just set what they do with George Clooney dressed as a "priest" against the entirety of Austin Powers in Goldmember and youíll see how diminished film comedy has become. (86 minutes)