Bob Giraldi’s “Dinner Rush,” is the only feature he’s directed in the past two decades. He made one feature film prior, the little-remembered "Hiding Out" with Jon Cryer and Annabeth Gish, but his most famous work was as a commercial and music video director; Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” probably the most well-known. At the end of the eighties though, he left the filmmaking industry entirely, and became a restaurateur is New York. (He's since gone back to shooting several dozen short films in recent years, but no feature films since.)
There’s so much more going on, but most importantly, it’s a film made by foodies and is for foodies, as it combines the more traditional aspects of an Italian family drama, and yes that includes mobsters, with the more modern sly and subversive look at the celebrity chef culture that was only starting to take shape when the film was made, but has since exploded, and that’s only two of the film’s many subplots. It actually borders on Altmanesque at certain points with it's several narratives. With the exception of a beginning prologue, and the very last scenes the film takes place entirely inside and around what seems like a typically packed Tuesday night at the hip Tribeca eatery, and I wish all my nights out at a lovely fine dining restaurant establishment were like this.
The movie does ends with a cliché, one that most Italians, would never actually screw up, but it can get away with it because we’ve gotten so invested in the characters, that even the faintest hint of closure seems believable, if only in that moment. One character observes during the movie, “When did eating dinner become a Broadway show?” I think that is a good question, but what’s more amazing is how it can become such a wonderful film.