The film begins by chronicling the DiNapoli siblings – Antoinette (Bancroft), Domenico (DeLuise), and Frank Jr. (Carey) – growing up, whenever young Dom became upset by something, the one thing his mother did to comfort him, was to feed him, from nursing him while crying in the middle of the night as a baby, to giving him a cannoli after being urinated on by his baby brother as he’s being changed. Because of this, Dom grew up with a love of food, a trait that was shared by his equally obese cousin, Salvatore (Sal). When Sal suddenly dies at the young age of thirty-nine, the entire family grieves, and prompts Antoinette to urge Dom to visit the diet doctor that Sal was supposed to visit, so as not to further copy his cousin’s unhealthy eating habits, and drive himself into an early grave as well. Dom is reluctant, but agrees to do so when he begins to realize the signs that his obesity is ruining his health; after his examination, Dom is heartbroken when he is given his new diet plan, and he sees the long list of things he can no longer eat, that he has always loved. The diets fail, and Dom’s eating habits begin to drive his sister crazy, who enlists him in the Chubby Checkers support group. Meanwhile, Dom meets Lydia (Azzarra), who owns the town antique shop, and quickly falls in love with the her when he realize they have a lot in common, but being self-conscious about his weight, he fears rejection, and can’t bring himself to ask her out. Now further depressed, Dom seeks comfort from his Chubby Checkers – Sonny and Oscar (Richard Karron and Paul Zegler), who turn out to be of little help, as their reminiscing about their favorite desserts and dishes drives them to having a pig-out party in the kitchen. To help their brother, Antoinette and Frankie bring Dom and Lydia together, and the two begin dating; while dating Lydia, Dom doesn’t realize that he has been eating less and less, and is shocked to discover at how loose his clothes fit in a matter of weeks. Finally, Dom decides to propose to Lydia, but when he drops by her apartment, he finds she is gone, and there is no sign of her, which worries him so much, that he ends up eating all of the Chinese takeout food he was supposed to pick up for family for a party. It is at this point that Frankie and Antoinette finally begin to think Dom is crazy; Dom begins to think so as well, and in a fit of self-loathing, blames his mother for her constant feeding him, but realizes that she only did what she thought was best, and that he has to love himself the way he is, and that his siblings need to accept him for who he is. Dom then receives a phone call from Lydia, who is in a hospital in Boston visiting her younger brother, who had been admitted after accidentally chopping his finger off; Dom flies in to help Lydia care for her injured sibling, and when the two take a walk through the hospital, and watch the newborn babies in the nursery, Dom whispers his marriage proposal into Lydia’s ear, to which she replies, “Yes.” The film ends with a photo montage of now-married Dom and Lydia, and their newborn babies – with each photo showing Lydia holding a new baby, while the previous child grows up.
A dark-haired, earthy beauty and a versatile actress, Anne Bancroft has actually had two film careers. The first, which took place during the 1950s, was generally undistinguished and featured her in films that usually failed to fully utilize her talents. The second, which began in the early ’60s, established her as an actress of great acclaim in films like The Miracle Worker and granted her screen immortality with roles such as that of the iconic Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate.
A first generation Italian-American hailing from the Bronx, Bancroft (born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano) was four years old when she began taking acting and dancing lessons. Billing herself as Anne Marno, she began appearing on television in 1950. Two years later she signed a contract with Fox and launched a six-year career in second-string Westerns and crime dramas that began with Don’t Bother to Knock in 1952. By 1958, Bancroft had enough of Hollywood and turned her attentions… read more