The Deli | Chicago Reader

The Deli

Mike Starr sets the tempo of this ambling 1996 comedy as his character goes deeper and deeper into debt to friendly neighborhood bookmakers, and the implicit danger he's in makes for a healthy suspense in what's actually a nonviolent story. As Johnny runs the delicatessen he and his mother own nearly into the ground, Andy (Matt Keeslar), who manages the place with surprising efficiency considering how many girlfriends he has, sternly warns that their suppliers are about to cut them off. Pinky (Brian Vincent), the counter assistant who's good at helping Johnny pick losers to bet on, chafes at the limitations on his responsibilities—though he can barely deliver a sandwich to a customer around the corner without becoming hopelessly distracted. This pleasantly stressful story, written by John Dorrian and director John Gallagher, has more quirky characters and good performances than you can shake a stick at.

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