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Saturday, October 13, 2012
To Rome with Love
|By Sati.||Saturday, October 13, 2012||2012, Comedy, movie, review, Romance, T, To Rome with Love, Woody Allen|
There are certain people working in cinematic world whose decisions puzzle me. One of such decisions is working, working and then working some more when they really don't need to do that - look at composer Alexandre Desplat. For the last few years it has been embarrassing to witness how much he is wasting his talent away. Instead of focusing on quality, he is focusing on quantity. And now look at Woody Allen. He makes one movie a year. And when the movie is as bad as To Rome with Love, I really don't understand the praise he is getting for being so prolific. I for one would much rather have no new movie by Allen this year when the result is that awful.
To Rome with Love is as bad as it confusing. We watch few different stories, with no link whatsoever, other than perpetual miscasts and bad script. Hayley (Alison Pill) meets Italian Michelango and they fall in love. Hayler invites over her parents - retired father, formerly working in music business, Jerry (Woody Allen) and psychiatrist mother Phyllis (Judy Davis). Upon arrival to Rome families of the future married couple met and Jerry hears Michelangelo's father sing in the shower, which enchants him. In another story Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) who lives with his girlfriend, out of nowhere meets his favorite architect (Alec Baldwin) on the street. To add to the confusion, his girlfriend's friend Monica (Ellen Page) flies over for a visit and soon sparks start to fly out between her and Jack.
In another segment married couple comes for vacation to Rome and call girl named Anna (Penelope Cruz) is sent to their room by mistake, when the wife of a man is lost in Rome. The man pretends in front of his family that Anna is his wife - Milly - to avoid embarrassment, while Milly meets Italian movie star on the streets on Rome. And finally there is Roberto Benigni, in completely unwatchable segment, where he plays a man who is famous for no apparent reason.
Writing all of this down was almost as exhausting as sitting through this film. Woody Allen is dangerously approaching the point where his desire to make one movie per year is becoming ridiculous and slowly it is endangering his legacy. To Rome with Love is a BAD movie. In fact, if it wasn't for very few characters here that were fun to watch I wouldn't be able to finish it. The film lacks laughs, wit and sense. At one point Michelangelo's father sings in the shower at the opera, during the show, on stage. That's exactly how it sounds. Allen showed a lot of ridiculous things in his movies but they were never embarrassing to witness. Well, until now, that is.
Roberto Benini's scenes are so incredibly stupid and baffling I was exhausted watching them. So are the adventurous of Milly, it looked like Allen wanted to copy Italian movies he saw, but he has done so without charm and in the effect what was supposed to be whimsical storyline turns into one that is tiring to watch. Alec Baldwin's character only interacts with certain characters, while others don't see him. It's never explained. Worse yet - I truly don't care what was up with that part. I don't know, I don't wanna know, I'm out.
But the worst thing about To Rome with Love is Ellen Page. I was never a fan of hers - I think she is crazy overrated and her Academy Award nomination for Juno was way too much praise for her performance. She was disastrous in Inception, where she aimlessly wandered around, but here she is just laughable. The worst part is that she is cast as this sexual, alluring femme fatale. Ellen Page of all people. She looks like she just finished cleaning the bathroom in this movie. There are many confusing things in the film, but the fact that she is supposed to be someone all those men are attracted to was by far the most baffling thing in this mess.
Allen has such a great cast here - Italian actors actually manage to outshine the Americans, because the script simply gives them more interesting parts to play, not typical nervous wrecks of Allen's universe. Lovely Allison Pill has nothing to do here, though, Eisenberg is his usual self, Baldwin can't even be funny with lifeless script. However there are three people that nearly rescued the film. Nearly.
Penelope Cruz is terrific as prostitute Anna - she is charming, sexy and passionate. I don't have a problem with Spanish actress playing Italian woman as many others seem to, she was really good and - well, I don't speak Italian - but she sounded great. Another characters that work are Jerry and Phylis. In fact I wish all of the other crap was cut from the film and Allen just focused the whole movie on this couple, who comes to Rome to meet their future son in law.
The only reason why their story works is that they are played by Allen himself and amazing Judy Davis. Allen has been absent in front of camera since his 2006 comedy Scoop (trust me comparing to this one Scoop is a masterpiece of comedy). I think Allen's films are the funniest when he is acting in them. Otherwise his leading actors just try to copy him - the effects are usually disastrous as with terrible Kenneth Brannagh in Celebrity and just horrid Larry David in Whatever Works. As for Davis, she always shines in Allen's films. These two have great chemistry together and their story arc is the only one in the whole movie that made me laugh. Singing in the shower moments aside.
I love Italian food. Spaghetti is my all time favorite dish. But one time I undercooked pasta and it was inedible. Everything was fine - the sauce, the cheese, the pasta had all the right ingredients. But it was bad because I didn't cook it long enough. The script for To Rome with Love is just like that - had Allen had some time to think it all through and really wonder whether all those stories are truly worth their place in this movie, this could have been charming, effortless movie. But it's not. I wish Woody simply vacationed in Rome. Without movie camera with him.
To Rome with Love (2012, 112 min)
Plot: The lives of some visitors and residents of Rome and the romances, adventures and predicaments they get into.
Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Alison Pill, Judy Davis, Roberto Bengini.