Two Bits

on November 22, 1995 by Kim Williamson
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   "Make no mistake. Today is going to be the day," says Grandpa (Al Pacino) in predicting his death to 12-year-old grandson Gennaro (Jerry Barone) on a summer morning in Depression-era Philadelphia. Grandpa promises to bequeath to Gennaro his life savings--a quarter--so that the self-centered boy can attend a new movie palace.
   Despite intimate (if stagey) direction by James Foley, "Two Bits" suffers dramatic imbalance; its amber-lit nostalgia has all the charm of a crematorium visit. In a word, it's icky. For good and ill, Pacino (as in "Heat") is unrestrained; Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (as in "Three Wishes") makes a fine mom; as Gennaro, Barone is uninspired.    Starring Al Pacino, Jerry Barone and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Directed by James Foley. Written by Joseph Stefano. Produced by Arthur Cohn. A Miramax release. Drama. Rated PG-13 for some traumatic thematic elements. Running time: 85 min.
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