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Group Blasts 'Shark' Movie

September 15, 2004|Elaine Dutka | Times Staff Writer

"Shark Tale" won't be released until Oct. 1, but the film is already being skewered by an Italian American heritage group.

The Columbus Citizens Foundation, which produces New York's Columbus Day parade, on Tuesday accused the DreamWorks film of making "unprecedented use of ethnic stereotypes to characterize villains." Using actors such as Robert De Niro and cast members from "The Sopranos," who have portrayed mob characters on TV and in film, reinforces the connection, said Lawrence Auriana, the group's president.

The group wants such characterizations stripped from the movie. This is only motion picture the group has ever targeted.

DreamWorks spokesman Andy Spahn said the film, an animated tale of a fish with big dreams, will be released without any concessions to the group's "wildly inaccurate" complaints.

Spahn said the movie parodies a host of genres -- not just gangster movies -- and boasts a multiethnic cast: " 'Shark Tale' is a positive, uplifting family film with nothing negative or demeaning about it."

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