Trailers for movies are expected, but now there are trailers for books, too, and video games. What about restaurants? We can probably all agree that restaurants do not need trailers or short films (not commercials) to promote themselves. Katie Lee and Ted Collier of Katie's Pizza & Pasta (9568 Manchester Road; 314-942-6555) didn't seem to get that memo. They've produced a baffling short called 11 1/2 (an homage to Fellini's 8 1/2) which sort of promotes the pizza at Katie's. But not really.
Lee styles herself as "Stella Bellini," a mysterious (she's not exactly mysterious, but just go with it) woman who enters Katie's Pizza and sidles up to the bar. She then makes eyes at a man at the bar -- no matter that he's actually her husband, or that he's wearing sunglasses at night, inside, or smoking in a restaurant that definitely does not allow smoking.
Then she starts smoking, too, as bartender "Johnny Bottles" makes her a drink despite the fact that he, too, is wearing sunglasses at night, indoors. Then we get the voiceover, in Italian. Because Katie's Pizza is very Italian. "Love is complex. Passion is fleeting." Here Lee fondles a lemon. "Desire is simple. I fucking love pizza."
Get it?! She's actually in love with the pizza! Fellini would love that, no? Er, no. We're not sure how this does anything but allow Lee, Collier and her brother, who plays the bartender, to play dress up.
Lee's whole claim to fame is that she actually studied in Florence and serves up authentic food that's supposed to be the next best thing to Italy. "The original Katie's made its name with its pizza," we wrote in our review. "The new Katie's, however, has some catching up to do."
Perhaps Katie's should take a page from its Italian friends and not take itself so seriously. Even the terrible, terrible 8 1/2 remake starring Daniel Day Lewis had a better bar scene.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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