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Saturday, June 23, 2012

To Rome With Love (2012)

After the biggest commercial success of his career as well as another screenwriting Oscar with MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, Woody Allen turns his eye to Rome. Four vignettes in contemporary Rome: a retired music executive (Allen) and his wife (Judy Davis) arrive in Rome to meet their daughter's (Alison Pill) Italian fiance (Flavio Parenti), a man (Alec Baldwin) revisits his past and looks back at his younger self (Jesse Eisenberg) and gives him advice, newlyweds (Alessandro Tiberi, Alessandra Mastronardi) find themselves separated as he has a fling with a prostitute (Penelope Cruz) and she has a dalliance with a movie star (Antonio Albanese) and an ordinary man (Roberto Benigni) finds himself a celebrity for no accountable reason. Perhaps if Allen's MIDNIGHT IN PARIS hadn't been his best film in years, TO ROME WITH LOVE wouldn't seem like such a letdown. As it stands, it's an uneven film with stock characters that we've seen in Allen's films before and situations which are amusing until Allen bleeds them dry like the opera singer (Fabio Armiliato) who can only sing in the shower. But when he's on target like the Benigni segment which satirizes the media's and our obsession with non entities as celebrities, it's prime Allen. Also, it's a treat to have Allen back on the screen as an actor again, he's been missed and Rome is lovingly photographed by Darius Khondji (SE7EN). With Ellen Page, Greta Gerwig and Ornella Muti.

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