For a film about spiritual crisis, Vito Bonafacci is surprisingly placid—all lush widescreen photography and soothing strings. But that’s because John Martoccia’s movie isn’t really concerned with reflecting on the difficulties of faith so much as instructing the already converted. After a dream in which he dies and goes to hell, the eponymous contractor (Paul Borghese)—and lapsed Catholic—muses worriedly on the grounds of his million-dollar estate, but it doesn’t take him long to realize that all his earthly riches are of little importance compared to the possibility of heaven. Engaging his cook, his barber, and his gardener in some of the most stilted and elementary theological debates ever filmed, Vito soon calls in his priest for a quickie save-your-soul session. Turns out our man need not give up his riches or even leave the grounds of his home; he just needs to confess, take the Eucharist, and keep on praying. From there, the film rapidly devolves into little more than an instructional video in proper Catholic practice—complete with pop-up Bible verses. Factor in the consistently subpar acting and Vito Bonafacci stands as one project better suited to Sunday schools than movie theaters.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 4, 2011