Sunday, September 23, 2012

Film Review: To Rome With Love

You may or may not be surprised to know that I've never seen a Woody Allen film.  Until today, that is.  Faithful travelling companion (who has seen at least one of Mr Allen's films) and I headed off to the cinema to see "To Rome With Love", which has had mixed critical reviews to say the least.  But as someone who has never seen a Woody Allen film, I'm only judging this one on its own merits rather than comparing it with any of his past glories. it worth watching?  Well I would say yes.  I would particularly highlight the beautiful scenery which is as much a star of the film as any of the cast.  It could be an advert for the Rome tourist board.  And yes, the soundtrack is preaching to the converted with the likes of "Volare" and "Arrivederci Roma" however my fave was the Parmigiano-tastic "Amada Mia, Amore Mio"

There is no main plot, rather it's a mix of four different stories with a mixture of fun and farce well-written and well-acted by an all-star cast including Woody Allen himself. 

The story begins: American girl meets Italian boy in Rome, fall in love and get engaged.  When her parents come over they discover that their prospective son-in-law's dad is a potential opera star - however there is one slight problem, as he can only sing in the shower.  The joke may drag on a wee bit too long, but it does have its laugh-out-loud moments. 

Meanwhile, Jesse Eisenberg's character is torn between his girlfriend and her best friend and seeks advice from Alec Baldwin's character who is almost like an imaginary voice in his head. 

Elsewhere, a newly married couple arrive in the city, the wife gets lost, a hot hooker played by Penelope Cruz ends up being mistaken for the man's wife and ends up meeting most of her clients at an outdoor gathering.  The wife, meanwhile, ends up in a classic bedroom farce.

Finally, Roberto Benigni's character opens the door one day and he is an instant celebrity, pursued by the paparazzi and press.  Then they move on to another guy.  I guess this is Mr Allen's comment on the instant and fickle nature of modern-day fame?
It's not deep, or particularly meaningful or thought-provoking, but sometimes you just need a lightweight, fun and frivolous film which is entertaining, easy-going and a visual delight, and "To Rome With Love" fitted the bill on this Saturday afternoon.  It may not be on the 'classic' scale of Mr Allen's past films, but as I've already said, I've never seen a Woody Allen film.  I guess that's another thing to add to my to-do list. 

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