Critics verdict: No love for Woody Allen's To Rome With Love
While the film and its title reek of love and romance, critics don't particularly seem to fall for it. Experts have panned Woody Allen's To Rome With Love, even calling it nonsensical and its characters stupid.hollywood Updated: Sep 07, 2012 15:01 IST
Film: To Rome With Love
Cast: Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page
Director: Woody Allen
Plot Synopsis: To Rome With Love is about the lives of some visitors and residents of Rome and the romances, adventures and predicaments they get into.
While the film and its title reek of love and romance, critics don't particularly seem to fall for it. Experts have panned Woody Allen's To Rome With Love, even calling it nonsensical and its characters stupid.
AO SCOTT, New York Times
And so, in a similar vein, I’m fairly certain that Rome in the new movie is a metaphor for the capital of Italy.
Which just happens to be a city that Freud dreamed of often and initially struggled to visit, and also a place where American literary heroines like Henry James’s Daisy Miller came to test their innocence against the corruptions of Europe.The beginning of To Rome With Love suggests a return to this durable theme, as we observe a fresh-faced young woman, charmingly lost on her way to the Trevi Fountain, asking directions from a handsome young Italian man.
One of the most delightful things about To Rome With Love is how casually it blends the plausible and the surreal, and how unabashedly it revels in pure silliness. The plots, which are cut together in no special order, obey different time schemes: Antonio and Milly’s marital drama (which involves a prostitute played by Penélope Cruz, and a movie star played by Antonio Albanese) seems to occupy a single afternoon, while other strands stretch over weeks and months. They rarely intersect, forming a shuffled, syncopated anthology, a variation on the multi-director omnibus films that were a staple of Italian cinema in the 1950s and ’60s.
Final Word:The limitations of “To Rome With Love,” as frothy as the milk atop a cappuccino, are finally inseparable from its delights. Some of the scenes feel rushed and haphazardly constructed, and the dialogue frequently sounds overwritten and under-rehearsed. But this may just be to say that we are watching late-period Woody Allen. Complaining would be as superfluous — though also, perhaps, as inevitable — as psychoanalysis.
David Blaustein, ABC News
Perhaps the only refreshing thing about “To Rome with Love,” Woody Allen’s follow-up to his most successful film of all time, 2011?s “Midnight in Paris,” is whenever Alec Baldwin looks in the direction of a camera, the audience will not feel physically threatened.
The scattershot technique of going from one story to another does lessen the overall experience a tad. There are nice moments in the all Italian-speaking sections, but they go by too quick. Still the highs are a real treat for anyone who enjoys the hilarity that comes from situations that can only be pulled off by a master like Woody Allen. Like the shower guy doing a grand production onstage and all wet. Certainly the cleanest tenor ever.
Final Word: To Rome With Love Is Sealed With a Clever Bacio
Peter Travers, RollingStone.com
Can Woody Allen do for the Eternal City what he did for the City of Light in his Oscar-winning script for Midnight in Paris? Don't get greedy. To Rome With Love lacks the overarching theme of time and regret that distinguished Allen's last romantic comedy, but it has pleasures galore.
And so it goes in this episodic culture-clash comedy in which the laughs are decidedly hit-and-miss. Allen scores comic points at the expense of reality-show fame by casting Italy's Oscar-winning clown Roberto Benigni as an ordinary guy who becomes famous for nothing until the paparazzi move on to the next nothing. But the joke wears thin.
It’s light and frothy, mixing silliness, romance, magic realism and absurdity. It may not be Allen’s most cohesive film, but it has its charms (and its flaws), nonetheless.Allen assembles a disparate and not necessarily interconnected group of plots, which feel like short stories or one-act plays. Mixing them together takes the pressure off each to carry too much weight – yet together they provide their own delights, adding up to Allen’s take on the kind of breezy Italian sex comedy that always seemed to star Marcello Mastroianni or Sophia Loren (or both) in the 1960s.
Final Word: In other words, "To Rome With Love" is light, sometimes frothy, diverting without being particularly memorable. It is enjoyable but minor Woody Allen, a film that keeps you watching and chuckling, if not exactly laughing out loud.
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First Published: Sep 07, 2012 14:37 IST