To Rome With Love – Film Review
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Woody Allen
by Dan Berlinka
Opening narration? Check. Excellent ensemble cast and beautiful photography? Check. Increasingly wish-fulfilment-fantasy view of women? Very check.
Woody Allen may have left New York behind several movies ago, but To Rome With Love is still familiar territory. Both for him and his fans. Here we find him paying homage as much to a cinematic tradition as to the eternal city. This multi-narrative confection playfully mixes romance, farce and surrealism as effortlessly as it switches languages.
It may all be as light and frothy as a cappuccino, but there’s a lot here to enjoy. Some smart one-liners, fine performances, particularly from Roberto Benigni, Judy Davis, Penelope Cruz and Ellen Page, and the sheer pleasure of seeing Allen himself back on screen.
“Simultaneously undercooked and overlong”
However, given the various different plots, some elements inevitably work better than others. While actors apparently always jump at the chance to see their name in that font, Alec Baldwin has the haunted look of a man who knows, deep down, that he’s signed up to one of the lesser works.
As the film wears on, there’s an increasing sense that it is simultaneously undercooked and overlong. A great visual piece of comedy is redundantly repeated. A story that has reached its natural conclusion has an unnecessary and clunky coda. Some gags are predictable and telegraphed.
Overall, it’s certainly pleasant and a perfectly respectable choice for a date movie. But unless you’re a complete Woody die-hard, probably not one for your must-see list.