's sudsy ode to Rome, while joyful and amusing, rings hollow.
To Rome with Love
rambles between four unconnected stories that have little in common other than their Roman setting. The film explores love, fame and legacy, but with only the lightest touch, never delving deeper than the holiday glow of its characters.
In one subplot, newlywed couple Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi
) and Antonio (Alessandra Mastronardi
) confront temptation when an obnoxious film star pursues Milly and a call girl (Penelope Cruz
) accidentally enters Antonio's hotel room.
In another, Leopoldo Pisanello (Roberto Benigni
), an average Roman office worker, becomes famous for being famous and wonders if life really is better as a celebrity. Meanwhile, a sell-out architect (Alec Baldwin
) encounters a younger version of himself (Jesse Eisenberg
) and warns him of the dangers of falling for his girlfriend's phoney vixen of a best friend (Ellen Page
Allen himself appears as Jerry, a former opera director who equates retirement with death. When he encounters the extraordinary voice of his future son-in-law's father (Fabio Armiliato
) he is determined to put him on the stage despite the tenor's reluctance.
Surprisingly, the film lacks any genuine connection to Rome. Although traipsing through ruins and hanging onto the back of vespers, the characters never really inhabit the city. Their slapstick escapades could've occurred anywhere.
While the laughs come easily, the jokes begin to tire fairly fast as they are repeated endlessly. This isn't to say that the film isn't entertaining, and often the sheer frivolity and ridiculousness of the scenarios are outrageous fun.
Watch the trailer now