To Rome with Love Movie Review
Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“I lived here in Rome for a year when I was your age,” says John (Alec Baldwin) to Jack (Jesse Eisenberg), a younger version of himself, as he relives one of the most exciting romances of his life in Woody Allen’s ensemble comedy To Rome with Love.
That’s just one of the many vignettes brought to life in Allen’s 2012 film. There is also an average middle-class Roman, Leopoldo (Roberto Benigni), who one day wakes up to find himself the most popular celebrity being hounded by the press and the paparazzi. It seems he is famous through no fault or action of his own. At first fearful and shocked by all the attention, Leopoldo soon begins to enjoy being recognized by strangers on the street and attending movie premieres with super models.
Then there’s the retired American opera director Jerry (Woody Allen) who’s traveled to Rome with his wife, Phyllis (Judy Davis), to meet and get to know his daughter’s fiancé. While not enjoying the beauty and sights of Rome, Jerry becomes fixated on his future son-in-law’s father’s incredible singing voice. He’s truly amazed no one has ever encouraged him to pursue a career in singing instead of being a mortician, and quickly angers his future relatives by constantly bringing up the subject any and every chance he gets.
Meanwhile, Jack has met his girlfriend’s good friend, Monica (Ellen Page), who’s going to be staying with them for a while and finds himself overwhelmingly drawn to her, despite the observations and warnings of the older and wiser John (Baldwin).
To Rome with Love is an unoriginal comedy that has barely any laughs and wastes some truly talented actors. Anyone expecting the magic, charm and humor that the moviegoing public got from last year’s Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris, is in for a big disappointment.
One of the main problems with the film is the fact it has so many vignettes, they aren’t given the time to develop into anything the audience will care about. The movie is also full of one-dimensional, stock characters that lack any true emotional depth and are devoid of any interesting personalities.
Alec Baldwin seems to almost be sleepwalking his way through any scenes with his younger counterpart played by Jesse Eisenberg. He gives a much better performance in his “Capital One” television commercials playing himself. Woody Allen gives perhaps the most annoying and humorless performance of his career as Jerry, the untalented, idiotic, neurotic, retired Opera producer who’s looking for one last golden opportunity to show the world he is a visionary. Hopefully, this will be the last time he feels the need to insert himself into one of his pictures.
Ellen Page is horribly miscast as the out of work, sexy, narcissist actress Monica who, according to her close friend, is a sensual siren men cannot help but fall for. Page, who is a talented young actress on the rise, fails to capture and exude the stunning, overwhelming, sexuality which is essential in believing Jack’s quick infatuation with her.
Another problem with the film is there is absolutely no pacing. It has no rhythm or flow and is just scene after scene after scene, jumping from one storyline to another with zero continuity.
Tedious and pointless, To Rome with Love is a laughless, boring, uninteresting drag of a film that will have the audience wishing they had actually gone anywhere except the movie theater (Rome would be nice) and had a real romantic adventure instead of sitting through this poor excuse of a movie.