Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Fall of Rome

To Rome with Love       WWW Score: 65%

If I were Rome, I'd be greatly offended. After the cinematic glory Woody Allen bestowed upon Paris, to be given this kind of treatment is akin to being served Steak-umms instead of filet mignon.  

To Rome with Love isn't just Allen's lamest effort in years, it's on my short list of the worst films of 2012.

Featuring four, non-intersecting and utterly inane vignettes set within the Eternal City, Allen jumps in front of the camera for the first time in six years, playing - wait for it - a neurotic ex-opera director.

Woody - in his now caricature form - stumbles upon a new pet project, one that leads to some of the most eye-rollingly unfunny material I've endured in ages; lest you consider a dude singing in a shower on stage in a opera house to be riotous.

Joining Allen on the idiosyncratic train is the one-note Jesse Eisenberg, whose incessant pattern of fractured, staccato speech has reached insufferable status. Eisenberg's architect character getting spiritual guidance from an outstanding Alec Baldwin, a voice-in-the-head illusion of sorts, who attempts to keep Eisenberg from falling for his girlfriend's best pal, the horribly miscast Ellen Page.

When I think "femme fatale", Page is roughly the 6,788th name that comes to mind, just edging out Kristen Wiig.

Allen's obsession with celebrity runs throughout each of the quartet's yawns yarns as Roberto Benigni returns from exile as a schmuck who's suddenly thrust into the spotlight for no earthly reason whatsoever - the male version of a Kardashian minus any shred of good looks.

The fourth and final piece to the frivolous puzzle features an Italian couple doing something that involves Penelope Cruz playing a hooker - apologies, I zoned out during several some stretches of the movie.

There are no legitimate laughs to be found - I chuckled zero times, which is quite the feat to accomplish. Aside from Baldwin and an annoyingly catchy '70s disco-esque track that runs for roughly 50% of the film, To Rome with Love is as instantly forgettable as the marinara sauce at the Olive Garden.

If - as his on-screen wife declares in the film - Woody gets some form of payoff from failing, the septuagenarian must feel a major sense of accomplishment after delivering this dreadfully insipid dreck.