Michael Corrente’s first movie in seven years was worth the wait. Some might be tempted to write Brooklyn Rules off as a Saturday Night Fever/GoodFellas wannabe, but that would be a mistake. scripted by Sopranos executive producer/writer Terry Winter, it’s a sharp, smart neighborhood drama with solid performances by all of the lead and supporting actors.
Set in ’80s Brooklyn, Michael (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Carmine (Scott Caan) and Bobby (Entourage’s Jerry Ferrara) are best buds heading on diverging paths. While Michael’s studying to go to law school and Bobby hopes to secure a job at the post office, Carmine joins up with local mobster Caesar Manganaro (Alec Baldwin). Robbery and assault suits his tough-guy personality. But a little dust-up in the local diner draws Michael into the mix, setting off a revenge story that will affect the three friends’ lives forever.
An on-again, off-again romance between Michael and Ellen (Mena Suvari), his Connecticut classmate, adds depth, and Baldwin plays Caesar with just the right menace (he cuts off a rival’s ear) and sensitivity. But in the John Gotti era, after the death of Paul Castellano, no wiseguy is safe. Corrente, whose best work until now was his 1999 stoner comedy Outside Providence, rules again.