by Megan Bianco, published on July 19, 2012|
After the overwhelmingly deserved success of Midnight in Paris last year, including a fourth Oscar for Woody Allen, the director sent his all-star cast to Rome for what should have been an Italian follow-up. To Rome with Love also returned Woody to the screen for the first time in six years, alongside old-time collaborators Judy Davis, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz and Alison Pill. But unlike Paris, Rome misses the mark.
Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page and Roberto Benigni join the cast as tourists and locals of Rome for a day of mishaps and bizarre scenarios. Eisenberg plays an aspiring architect who falls for his girlfriends friend (Page); Baldwin is an almost ghost-like guide at Eisenbergs side; Allen and Davis play parents of an American girl (Pill) who becomes engaged to an Italian. Benigni is an unmemorable businessman, and Cruz plays a prostitute who ends up in the wrong hotel room.
Most film fans--even Woody fans--will admit the comedy legend has been rather hit-or-miss lately. But after Midnight in Paris's huge popularity and awards, many hoped To Rome with Love would be just as charming and beautiful. Unfortunately, even with the stellar cast and some amusing moments from Eisenberg and Benignis segments, we get a few plot holes, old jokes, some stale dialogue and probably the most miscast actor in an Allen movie: Ellen Page. Rome looks gorgeous on screen but can't muster the intellect of past features.