In the wake of recent films including “Match Point”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, and “Midnight in Paris”, US filmmaker Woody Allen continues his cinematic homage to Western Europe in his latest work, To Rome with Love (trailer), a romantic comedy that is also the prolific writer and director’s forty-first feature production.
Set over the course of several days, “To Rome with Love” glimpses into the lives of four ordinary couples who suddenly find their worlds turned upside down. New Yorker Hayley (Alison Pill), met and fell in love with Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti), and now awaits the arrival of her parents Phyllis (Judy Davis), and Jerry (Woody Allen).
Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi), and wife Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi), newly weds, have travelled to Rome to settle, while Jack (Jesse Eisenberg), a student architect, resides there with girlfriend Sally (Greta Gerwig). Leopoldo (Roberto Benigni), a nondescript clerk, lives quietly with his wife Sofia (Monica Nappo), and their two children.
Jerry, a retired recording executive, feels Michelangelo’s father Giancarlo (Fabio Armiliato), who works as a mortician, has potential as an opera singer, even though Giancarlo isn’t interested in singing professionally. A sassy prostitute, Anna (Penélope Cruz), attempts to seduce Antonio, after Milly becomes lost in the city searching for a hair dresser.
Leopoldo finds himself at his wits’ end after somehow becoming a celebrity overnight. Jack meanwhile struggles to resist Monica (Ellen Page), an alluring friend of Sally’s, who has to come Rome to escape the fall out of a relationship break up, and seems oblivious to the counsel of John (Alec Baldwin), a successful architect, who he met by chance.
“To Rome with Love” will be a treat for Woody Allen devotees, who will especially enjoy the return of his trademark neurotic ramblings, but others will likely find the whole affair a little too lacking in substance to be much engrossing. Whimsy and comedy don’t quite align this time around, and while the overall result is acceptable, it’s not all that memorable.