For Reel

To Rome With Love (2012)
August 16, 2012, 4:48 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Woody Allen

Woody Allen’s latest postcard is the least satisfying of his recent disappointments. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and Whatever Works, for all of their flaws, weren’t without their charms, if only for their committed casts and the comparative reliability of their laughs. To Rome With Love, on the other hand, becomes a slog in its early-goings, with few of the jokes landing unless they’re delivered by Allen himself. Structured around four subplots (as well as a pair of terribly unconvincing bookends), Allen toys with his familiar obsessions of celebrity, sex, and regret with the tone of an agreeable sitcom. What is different from his previous, better efforts is an unforgivable sloppiness in the execution, best illustrated by a late night trespassing sequence that is shockingly clumsy in its staging and dialogue (suddenly, one feels as if they were watching a filmed stageplay). Though there are pleasures in the way that Allen incorporates his familiar magical realism, his comedic premises too often overstay their welcome – during an extended opera performance in the the third act, for example, Allen prods the audience for laughter and only earns it from those who begrudgingly respect his endurance. At least exciting young actors like Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Greta Gerwig, and Alison Pill got a vacation in Rome out of the whole ordeal. It’s too bad that the picture brings all of the excitement of a weekend spent in a hotel in Cleveland.