Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg in a scene from the movie To Rome With Love.
Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg in a scene from the movie To Rome With Love. Contributed - Imagenet

Movie review: To Rome With Love

PERHAPS one of the corniest of Italian love songs Volare sets up the opening titles of the film To Rome With Love.

It is a true reflection of the next two hours.

It's all very nostalgic as the iconic landmarks of the Eternal City flash across the screen in a montage of Roman highlights.

A traffic cop talks directly to the camera as the narrator, he disappears again until the end of the movie to wrap up the closing credits.

It's all a bit of a cliche, but it's something Woody Allen wears with pride in his latest European offering.

The film is laced with the same old-time charm as Midnight in Paris, but sadly Allen's 43rd feature film does not hit the mark.

Perhaps the traffic cop could have been used more to navigate the viewer through the jammed mess that is To Rome With Love.

Allen has created four separate story lines, which follow the romantic escapades of various characters.

Too many characters really, with boring conversation delivering satire in an underwhelming comedic fashion.

Retired opera director Jerry (Woody Allen) arrives in Rome with psychiatrist wife Phyllis (Judy Davis) to meet their daughter's future husband Michelangelo, an Italian native.

Allen plays the role of a paranoid and negative retiree with gusto, providing plenty of laughs.

Jerry equates retirement with death, that is until he meets his son-in-law's father played by tenor Fabio Armiliato, a beautiful singer but only in the shower.

So he puts on a critically acclaimed opera production, all with the star singing in the shower on stage.

It's all a bit silly and unrealistic, but it works. The comedy is obvious and clever.

But the same cannot be said for the remaining story lines.

On holidays in Rome, successful architect John (Alec Baldwin) tries to recapture the magic of the year he spent in the city 30 years earlier.

In an ambitious construct, which never works at all, Allen juxtaposes the successful architect with an architecture student, Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) to give words of wisdom when it comes to his love life which is embroiled in a love triangle.

John goes from real-life character to some sort of ghostly figment of only Jack's imagination which never sits comfortably for me.

Better to wait for this one to come to DVD.

 

To Rome With Love

  • Stars: Alec Baldwin, Woody Allen, Jesse Eisenberg, Judy Davis, Ellen Page, Flavio Paretni, Penelope Cruz and Antonio Albanese.
  • Rated: M
  • Director: Woody Allen
  • Rating: Two stars


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