Saturday, August 4, 2012

Roma Amorre (Film Review: To Rome With Love)

In 2009 and 2010, I did back to back trips to Rome. It's not the city with the most finesse, and the summer heat there can be unbarably humid, but the city has so much rich history and beauty, not to mention it holds a couple of Europe's Greatest Hits that you cannot help but love it. Woody Allen continues his Europe Travelogue series (after London and Paris) with "To Rome With Love," and after a couple of false starts, I finally saw the film tonight. For a Woody Allen film, this is a hot mess. He weaves four stories, not related to each other, and he has hits and misses with them. Not one really stands out in quality, but I kind of liked the one-joke one wherein an opera singer is discovered by a just-retired music executive (played by Allen) but the catch is: he only sings well in the shower, so he stages concerts and operas while bathing on stage. There's a farcical piece wherein an office clerk (played by Roberto Benigni) suddenly becomes famous for no reason, but Benigni's slapstick schtick grew tiresome quickly. Plus, the story had no backbone, and was confusing. Alec Baldwin plays a ghost/conscience in a storyline where a young man (Jesse Eisenberg) falls for his girlfriend's best friend. Though Eisenberg plays the same dweeby character in all his movies, I thought he was fine here, and really reminded me of a younger Woody. My main problem with that story? The casting of Ellen Page as the desired best friend when I thought her character pinged as a lesbian. There's a fourth storyline wherein a married couple (Allesandro Tiberian and a stunning Alessandra Mastronard) gets into Rome and gets caught in a mistaken identity plot with a prostitute, played by Penelope Cruz. Sure there are swiss-cheese sized holes in the plots, but they move teh film along seamlessly anyway that you can;t really be too bothered about it. Plus, Allen knows how to write great jokes that I was laughing more often than not. So a hot mess Woody Allen, for me, is more entertaining than a lot of other films playing in Multiplexes nowadays so I will still take it. Plus, the city is shot so beautifully, and I liked kind of knowing the spots. In the end, this was still amorre for me.

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