Tuesday, 3 January 2017

To Rome With Love (2012)

As enjoyable as it is inconsequential, To Rome With Love could perhaps have done with a second draft of the script, but Woody Allen turns out a pleasant and enjoyable piece of fluff.

The script cuts between four unconnected stories; an office worker who suddenly becomes a celebrity for no discernible reason; an architecture student who finds himself attracted to his girlfriend's actress friend; a young couple whose honeymoon turns into a farce involving a burglar and a prostitute; and an American Opera director who thinks he may have found his next big star - although there is one small but potentially serious catch.

The script has some of the problems that Woody Allen films all seem to have to some extent nowadays. The characters are two dimensional, and half of them are the standard issue American middle class liberal intellectuals, while the script feels under thought out and overwritten at times. However, with the stories being so slight, Allen is probably right not to try and stretch any of them further than he does.

The segments do all have differing styles, from farce to surreal comedy to more standard Allen territory of neurotic white men worrying about relationships, the contrast helping to keep things fresh. The best story is the one starring Allen himself as an Opera director visiting his daughter and her fiancée in Rome. The fiancée's father has the sort of tenor voice that should be on the stage - but he seems to have trouble performing outside of the privacy of his shower. The payoff to this takes the film into the kind of magical realism that Allen touches on every now and then, and as long as you can buy into it, it is hilarious.

As usual Allen seems to be able to scare up A-List celebrities at will, with regulars such Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz and Judy Davis, as well as Jesse Eisenberg trying out his Woody Allen impression.

The film looks great too, with Allen taking great care to show Rome off in a very flattering light.