(Four stories with beautiful shots of Rome)
Just when we had completely given up on Woody Allen, he gave us the wonderful "Midnight in Paris.”
While "To Rome With Love" is quite as good or innovative, it is a fun movie to watch, especially with the beautiful shots of Rome.
While Woody interjects a lot of humor into the four tales, he still manages to keep his old themes about love, sex, death and psychoanalysis alive.
The nearly two-hour movie jumps around from one story to the next. Unlike many movies of this genre, the stories and characters are not intertwined. The common denominator is Rome.
We first meet a local liberal lawyer (Flavio Parenti), who shows an American tourist (Alison Pill) the way to the Trevi fountain. They quickly fall in love in the Eternal City. Her parents (Woody Allen and Judy Davis) come to visit and meet her new love and his parents. Woody, a retired music promoter whom his wife says was "ahead of his time,” hears the father singing in the shower and wants to make him a star, with hilarious results.
Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) is a promising young architect who meets an American architect (Alec Baldwin), who becomes his mentor in his love affairs, but can only be seen by Jack. When his girlfriend's friend comes to stay with them, the threesome becomes complicated, with Jack falling for her (Ellen Page).
The funniest and silliest story finds Leopoldo (Roberto Benigni), a dull, middle-class office worker thrust into instant fame for no other reason than the paparazzi "discover" him, making him "famous for being famous.” They follow his every movement and dwell on his every word.
The scenes are funny and in the end poignant, but are carried to ridiculous extremes so that Allen can express his dislike of the press. Benigni is hysterical.
The funniest, most complicated tale involves an innocent young couple (Allessandro Tiberi and Alessandra Mastronardi), who come to Rome from a small Italian town to further his career in a family business. She goes out to get her hair done and gets lost. He finds himself in his hotel room with a hooker (Penelope Cruz). What happens to both of them is also very funny. Everything works out for everybody in the end.
While all of the actors are great, the real star of this movie is Rome. We get a chance to see not only the famous landmarks, but also those narrow streets, intimate cafes and unique squares.
Rated R, with some sexual references, but all very innocent. We would have given it a PG-13.