To Rome With Love Review
By Rich Cline
After Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen remains in a cheery European mode for another breezy comedy tinged with magical realism. This one's actually four separate stories that are very loosely interwoven as people struggle with the unpredictability of romance and fame. And like Midnight in Paris, it shows off Rome in the most beautiful light imaginable.
Baldwin plays an architect who returns to his student stomping grounds and meets Jack (Eisenberg), who seems to be living his old life, even as he falls for a friend (Page) of his girlfriend (Gerwig). Meanwhile, there's Leopoldo (Benigni), a dull businessman who suddenly becomes a celebrity for no reason he can see, is pursued everywhere by the paparazzi and starts to enjoy the high life. Across town, Jerry and Phyllis (Allen and Davis) arrive to meet the fiance (Parenti) of their daughter (Pill). Then Jerry pushes a future in-law (Armiliato) into becoming the latest opera sensation. Finally, a young couple arrives from the country to start a new life in the city, but the husband (Tiberi) ends up having a farcical day out with a sexy prostitute (Cruz) while the wife (Mastronardi) meets her favourite actor (Albanese).
With sunny photography and breezy performances from the entire cast, the film has a frothy tone that perfectly fits its light storylines. But of course Allen always includes moral dilemmas for his characters, letting them choose realistically and forcing them to deal with the fallout. Although in this film, none of it's terribly serious. The main theme is the inexplicable randomness of both celebrity and love, and each tale hinges on absurd coincidences (two include fantasy elements).
The most involving plotline is the young couple's two-pronged odyssey, and Mastronardi is especially engaging as her journey takes some hilarious turns.
Page is the other stand-out, giving her character a witty edge as a smart, subtle temptress. But the biggest surprise is that Allen is superb in his role as a retired opera director who just can't stop working. He proves that he's even better at playing his alter ego than Eisenberg, Benigni and Tiberi are.
And even if the various themes never really develop into something meaningful, the whole cast is thoroughly entertaining. And the city looks amazing.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 6th July 2012
Box Office Worldwide: $16.7M
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics
Production compaines: Mediapro, Perdido Productions, Medusa Film, Gravier Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Fresh: 71 Rotten: 93
Cast & Crew
Starring: Ellen Page as Shannon, Woody Allen as Mark Lovegood, Jesse Eisenberg as Tyson, Penélope Cruz as Anna, Alec Baldwin as John, Roberto Benigni as Leopoldo, Alison Pill as Lillian, Alessandra Mastronardi as Milly, Riccardo Scamarcio as Rapinatore hotel, Judy Davis as Phyllis, Ornella Muti as Pia Fusari, Greta Gerwig as Sally, Flavio Parenti as Michelangelo, Alessandro Tiberi as Antonio, Carol Alt as Carol, David Pasquesi as Tim, Lynn Swanson as Ellen