Movie review: New Allen movie a slight postcard from the Eternal City
In Italy, Woody Allen’s amusing, leisurely rail tour of the Continent goes slightly off track. “To Rome With Love” is not exactly a train wreck – Allen is too wily and witty a filmmaker to let that happen – but it definitely feels like his European sojourn is running out of steam and the siren cry of Manhattan is calling him home.
(Thank goodness his next film will be shot on location in New York and San Francisco.)
After landing in London in 2005 for a trio of films (“Match Point,” “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” and “Scoop”), moving to Spain for a trippy lark (“Vicky Christina Barcelona”) and lingering in France (for the slight, delightful “Midnight in Paris,” his biggest commercial hit ever), Allen now fetches up at the Trevi Fountain for a whimsical fantasy that feels woefully like recycled goods.
Virtually everything about “To Rome With Love” seems half formed, as if he’d rummaged through his writing desk and stitched together a few nascent ideas for New Yorker short stories into a pasty, collage Valentine to the Eternal City.
To the jaunty strains of “Volare” and “Arrivederci Roma” and visuals featuring virtually every angle of the Spanish Steps, Allen fleshes out four slight scenarios populated by the usual assortment of nattering neurotics and droll, self-absorbed urbanites that skitter through his every movie.
There’s Jesse Eisenberg (obviously Woody’s younger self here) as an architecture student living with his cool girlfriend (mumblecore “It” girl Greta Gerwig), yet disastrously drawn to a visiting, free-spirited and seductively pretentious actress (Ellen Page in a part that seems a bit off).
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