Bottom Line: To Rome with Love is neurotically funny, but forgetful of a necessary plot.
Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Alison Pill, Ellen Page, Flavio Parenti, Greta Gerwig, Jesse Eisenberg, Lynn Swanson, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni, Woody Allen
Woody Allen is without a doubt growing older and older. Each year, he releases a film, a goal he set God only knows how long ago, and usually, we’re genuinely surprised by how old he actually is (currently, that number is 76). Why is this so shocking? Not one cell in his wryly humorous mind is aging with his body. TO ROME WITH LOVE, Allen’s followup to 2011’s MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, is a very, very funny movie. I would quite honestly go so far as to say that it could be even funnier than MIDNIGHT. But much unlike that recent classic, ROME likely has a scarce ability to endure multiple viewings, nor does it have any chance of garnering a nomination for the Best Picture Academy Award, come early next year. With a thin plot that withers itself away even further into set of generically unfocused tales, the film falls flat in several areas.
TO ROME WITH LOVE is a film separated into four recurring vignettes–one of a confused worker who suddenly becomes a celebrity; a young, honeymooning couple; a mortician with a lifelong talent for singing; and an architect who visits his previous residence with his studying girlfriend. These premises are the kind we’d like expounded upon with a decent sense of humor (…check, check, check), but also a decent sense of plot (…whoops).
I’m a huge fan of director Woody Allen. I surely haven’t seen every one of his works–you can’t expect me to, as my fandom began this past November, and the man has directed a total of forty-four feature films–but I’m very familiar with his style. Side-splitting humor, paired with intriguing plot and substantial mood. Looks like Mr. Allen forgot his typical sense of atmosphere here. TO ROME WITH LOVE claims to be romantic with just the word “love”, but never does an atmospheric feeling of love carry on over to the audience.
One final note. In case it isn’t clear, this IS a film written and directed by–and starring–Woody Allen. Which means it isn’t for everyone. You may adore the ensemble cast and their sense of humor. You may love Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, etc. The humor they deliver is a lot different than you’d enter expecting if you choose to watch this as a fan of one or two of those applause-worthy names. As the film progressed, I began to notice that at least 85% of the theater I was seated in consisted of an estimated over-fifty demographic. I also noticed very much of the younger audience leaving the film. So even though I am a fan of the director’s wit, I implore you to choose wisely.