To Rome with Love

The latest film in Woody Allen’s European tour focuses on the city of Rome. Unlike the other great films in Europe (i.e. Match Point, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris), To Rome with Love is a mess of a film.

Allen tries to juggle too many storylines that have only the tiniest hint of a connecting thought. A forced theme at the end of the film having to do with the price of fame feels like a weak justification of these zany stories. So few of the characters ring true as real people, and thus the film loses all sense of believability.

Penelope Cruz is the one actor in the film who feels genuine. She plays a prostitute pretending to be a man’s wife after an exaggerated mix-up occurs. Cruz brings effortless comedy to this role, making her the only face I was delighted to see as the film skipped around from story to story.

Judy Davis holds her own as Woody Allen’s wife in the film, but her lines (along with most of the script) were too on the nose. Ellen Page brought the right air and cadence to her Allenesque character, but she was a poor cast for what the actual role was. I would like to see her in another Woody Allen film where I’m sure she would excel. Alec Baldwin’s character was possibly the most pointless and excessive one in the film, and Baldwin clearly knew it because he put in the minimal effort required for the role.

So much of the film felt like a rehash of old Allen films with even less creativity and ingenuity than he had before. It was such a disappointing flop of a film after so much hype and great expectations. Save your money and go see Magic Mike instead.

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