To Rome With Love

Woody Allen glamorized London ("Match Point" and "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger"), Paris ("Midnight in Paris"), and Barcelona ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), so why not Rome? He mixes together a disparate group of people, stirs lightly, and out comes:
  • Penélope Cruz ("Volver") as Anna, a hard-working high-end hooker with a heart of gold.
  • Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network") is Jack, an architectural student trying in vain to stay focused on blueprints.
  • Ellen Page ("Juno") as Monica, a faithless friend with plenty of shenanigans to distort a guy's focus.
  • Alec Baldwin ("It's Complicated") as John, an observer and sometimes unwelcome commentator. We are never sure when he is real....
  • Roberto Benigni ("Life is Beautiful") is an ordinary office worker who unexpectedly becomes a Kardashian for 15 minutes of fame. Of course he is swamped by gorgeous women, all of whom are desperate to bed him. Yuck!
  • Allison Pill ("Milk") as Hayley who miraculously meets the love of her life on her very first day in Rome.
  • Flavio Parenti ("I Am Love") as Michelangelo, trying to protect his naïve father from that capitalistic American, who might become his future father-in-law!
  • Fabio Armiliato (TV roles) as Giancarlo, who sings amazingly well in the shower. He threatens to be the next flavor of the month.... In a collection of absurd stories, his is the most absurd.
  • Judy Davis ("Eye of the Storm") as Phyllis, an acerbic wife who describes her avant-garde husband with a resigned sigh, "He's just ahead of his time."
  • Woody Allen ("Scoop") as Jerry, the angsty father who travels to Rome with his wife to meet their daughter's future in-laws. Allen has a couple of really funny lines, but this movie lasted 102 minutes.
There far too many other characters to name, people who come and go, leaving very little impression except a faint hope that maybe THIS one might be the story we can relate to. No such luck....

This scatter-shot script bounced around and left us feeling more than a little confused. How many days were involved? We saw one fellow turn off his alarm at least four mornings in a row, but that bride wasn't lost overnight, was she? How can an architectural student afford an extended vacation in the Mediterranean? How do some of these people support themselves? Who pays for all this? Who can see Alec Baldwin's charac- ter? Does he become invisible?

In the past, I have generally viewed Woody Allen's amusing films as mildly entertaining intellectual masturbation. This one I would call an old man's wet dream, but that would be rude, so I'll just say he's out of step with today's sexual morés and expectations. While it's clear that he views infidelity as therapeutic, and I DO appreciate his observations about pseudo intellectuals, Reality TV and fame, it occurred to me as we exited the theater that I didn't like any of the people we had watched ...although I DID appreciate the soundtrack. To me this was blandly diverting, but scattered, inconclusive, and left me vaguely dissatisfied. ...Yawn...
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Here is a link to a trailer:
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