Film: To Rome With Love (2012)
Cast includes: Alison Pill (Midnight in Paris), Judy Davis (Page Eight), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Woody Allen (Annie Hall), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Greta Gerwig (Greenberg), Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Ellen Page (Juno)
Writer/Director: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Genre: Comedy (102 minutes) Partially in Italian with subtitles
The policeman at the center of a chaotic Roman traffic circle tells us it's his job to "see that the traffic moves." He goes on to say, "I see everything." For example, there's Hayley, in Europe for the summer. When she asks Michelangelo for directions, it seems easier just to walk with her. Hayley and Michelangelo fall in love at the Trevi Fountain. Antonio and Milly are newlyweds. Antonio's uncle has arranged a meeting with important friends -- if things work out, the couple could be moving to Rome. But Milly's afraid her schoolteacher hairstyle will make them look like country bumpkins. She needs a quick makeover. John's a well-known architect who lived in Rome for a year after college. He'll skip the tourist sights, he'd prefer a trip down memory lane. And last we meet Leopoldo... a dependable, predictable, boring family man, who's never late for work.
We meet Hayley's parents on the plane, coming to Rome. It's more than just turbulence that's got her dad worked up. "If she's going to marry an Italian, couldn't she find someone with material possessions? What's wrong with Euro-trash?" Meanwhile, Milly isn't having an easy time finding a hair salon. At this rate, she'll be lost all day. Another meanwhile -- John's old neighborhood is starting to look familiar. That's when Jack comes along. They have a lot in common, so Jack invites John home for coffee and to meet Sally. That's when we find out that Monica's on her way, she's Sally's cute, sexy friend, the one that men "just adore." Yet another meanwhile, life is taking an unexpected turn for boring, predictable Leopoldo. The media has decided to make him famous... why? Do they need a reason? It's reality TV!
From here, the plots thicken. A high-priced prostitute mistakenly ends up in Antonio's room. Jerry, father of Hayley, who's engaged to Michelangelo, laments his unrealized potential. (The critics never appreciated his "Rigoletto," with everyone dressed like white mice.) When Jerry hears Michelangelo's father singing in the shower, it rekindles youthful ambitions. To Rome With Love is a silly, clever love letter to Rome in classic Woody Allen style. Although we're following four different wacky stories, Woody keeps us engaged with unexpected plot twists and clever dialogue. The cleverest lines seem to be in Woody's scenes, but there are a lot of chuckles throughout. Woody fans will enjoy this one. Moviegoers who prefer logical plot development will find lots here to take issue with. But Woody fans have long ago figured out not to worry about a few lapses in logic. Woody proves once again he hasn't lost his amazing comic IQ... figure it in euro, "In dollars it's much less!"
3 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
All of Woody's classic obsessions plus a few new ones, set in Rome
Rated: R (Sexual content)
Distribution: Mainstream limited release
Tempo: Cruises comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Character Development: Not that kind of film
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure entertainment
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