Sunday, July 22, 2012

"To Rome With Love" - Woody Allen (2012) - A Video Review

Woody Allen is back on both sides of the camera in "To Rome With Love."

The film is a continuation on Allen’s tribute to Luis Bunuel he started with "Midnight in Paris." 

This an homage to the eccentric bunuel of "The Discreet Charm of the Burgeiosie," not the psychotic Bunuel of "Un Chien Andalou." 

Allen continues his obsession with sex, fame and death, or more specifically, infidelity, fame and death. 

"To Rome With Love" is comprised of four intercut vignettes. And they take some surreal turns, feeling a bit like Harry Block's short stories from "Deconstructing Harry." 

The most satisfying story line features Jesse Eisenberg and his infatuation with Ellen Page, his girlfriend's friend who comes to stay with them in Rome.  

Alec Baldwin plays the conscience of the love triangle. 

He follows Eisenberg and Ellen Page around like an intimidating Jiminey Cricket. 

The only difference here is Baldwin's role as a conscience is to advise in reason, not morality. 

If you've seen "Hard Candy" you won't be surprised to hear that page gives the film's best performance, but Baldwin’s comedic timing is welcome. Other stories involve characters played by the likes of Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni and Judy Davis. 
It's wonderful to see Davis in a Woody Allen film again, although she's featured in the weakest of the four stories.  

It's also nice to see Benigni back in his element. 

Fortunately, we're treated to the quirky Benigni from films like Jim Jarmusch's "Down By Law" and "Night on Earth" as opposed to the sad caricature he made of himself twelve years ago. 

"To Rome With Love" has gotten mediocre reviews so far and that feels about right. It's not Allen at his best or worst. 

If you're already a Woody Allen fan, you'll like this film just fine. If you're not, "To Rome With Love" isn't going to convert you.

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