Monday, July 23, 2012

Review of the movie To Rome with Love

How do you write a non-tribute to your favorite director? By being candid, I guess.

Woody Allen , one of my favorite directors, has disappointed me with a tedious, errant and contrived movie called 'To Rome with Love'.

The scenes where Woody Allen, playing Jerry, a retired music director, seem to have the best laughs. But sadly Woody Allen doesn't stick to those scenes. There are four disjointed stories and what point they all serve is best understood only by the makers of the movie.

The opening scene introduces us to the chaotic Roman streets where Hayley(Alison Pill) , an American tourist , meets the handsome Italian Michelangelo. Hayley invites her parents, Jerry(Woody Allen) and Phyllis (Judy Davis), to meet her in-laws.During the visit, Jerry discovers the natural singing talent of Michelangelo's mortician father and launches him as an opera-singer. The best of the guffaws are part of this story :

Jerry: "The kid's a communist, the father's a mortician, does the mother run a leper colony?"

Elsewhere, we are introduced to an architect John (Alec Baldwin) who bumps into a young architectural student Jack (Jesse Eisenberg). In a series of surreal imagination, John hovers around Jack like a guardian angel. Sometimes whacky, sometimes didactic, John tries to steer Jack away from the mistakes of the young  like warning him against women like Monica. Woody's obsession with the pseudo-intellectual woman, is  brought to screen by Monica (Ellen Page) who waxes eloquent of Dostoevsky and Ozymandian melancholy.

Monica: "I would do anything to spend one night with Howard Roark."

Scenario three is about a newly-wedded couple who are separated and is laden with the cliched 'call-girl pretending to be wife' . Even Penelope Cruz in a sexy red dress, fails to save this one. 

The last tale is the one depicting that the famous become 'famous' for no apparent reason. Except as a tribute to Fellini and Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful) , this is the most tiring of all . 

The movie might have worked decently well if the story of  the newly-weds and that of a 'schmuck' becoming famous were avoided.For those who are not familiar with Woody Allen's  work, this is not the best place to start familiarizing with his oeuvre.But if, like myself, you are a Woody Allen fan, then you must definitely check it out just so that you can go back to appreciating Annie Hall or Manhattan more than ever.

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