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To Rome With Love—movie review

To Rome With Love—movie review

The best thing about being a Woody Allen fan is the certainty that if you don’t like his latest film, he’s already got another one in the oven. Following the unprecedented audience reaction to Midnight in Paris, Allen has conceived a multi-character mosaic of stories set in the Eternal City…but, sorry to say, To Rome With Love falls flat.

On the plus side, there are postcard views of Rome that make you want to book seats on the next plane. Better yet, Woody appears in this one, reviving his neurotic screen persona and tossing off very funny one-liners. But the other characters and their stories are woefully contrived, and the movie soon wears out its welcome.

Alison Pill opens the film as an American tourist who falls in love with a handsome young man, prompting her parents (Allen and Judy Davis) to visit. Alec Baldwin is a successful architect who goes in search of the street where he lived years ago and is recognized by a young architect (Jesse Eisenberg) who invites him into his home. Greta Gerwig plays Eisenberg’s girlfriend, who welcomes a neurotic pal (Ellen Page) to stay with them, despite the fact that men are always attracted to her. Roberto Benigni is an ordinary office clerk who suddenly finds himself a TV celebrity, for no apparent reason. And Penélope Cruz is a hooker who pops into the hotel room of the wrong man and winds up having to pose as his wife.

The actors do their best to make awkward scenes and dialogue ring true, but it’s a hopeless effort. Moments of farce alternate with touches of whimsy and even fantasy that never take flight.

Rather than dwell on this misfire, I prefer to think about Woody’s last film, which was so entertaining, and look forward to the next.

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Jim Reinecke

But, Leonard, you have to remember that to true Woodyphiles, Mr. Allen is critic-proof. Even his less inspired efforts afford us moments of wit, charm and creativity that are all too missing from contemporary mainstream American film (alas and alack!). I, for instance, didn't think that ANYTHING ELSE was the absolute disaster that you did, even though I will grant you that it is a lesser Allen work. I'm also one of the very few people who liked CELEBRITY immensely (it frightens me to realize, however, that one of the other fans of that one was Richard Roeper. . .Gadzooks!), and even SHADOWS AND FOG and THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION, which I consider Woody's least impressive films still have laudable moments. I'll definitely see this one, secure in the knowledge that one reel of any Woody Allen film is artistically and intellectually superior to the entire output of Michael Bay! (Did I really just mention those two names in the same sentence? Forgive me, Woody!)

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