Week 2 of the reverse-order challenge is Woody’s second film set in the lovely city of Rome.

WHAT HAPPENED?

To Rome With Love has a star-studded cast (including Roberto Benigni, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz and Allen himself) playing a variety of characters in four separate comedy stories. Each storyline is unique and completed unconnected – apart from being set in Rome – and to give you a summary of each would not only be tedious to write but would also ruin the films enjoyment as the unpredictably is part of the films charm.

THE GOOD

The film is an out and out comedy and generally achieves its aim at making an audience laugh. In the well-written screenplay there are moments to please any comic taste with it switching from slapstick satire to darkly humouress nostalgia and back.

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Each of the stories something unique however for me it is the story of two newly-wed lovers which I found most enjoyable. As both members of the couple fall into the path of adulterous temptation; scenes from this storyline begin to play out like something from a Noel Coward play. This had hilarious results that are truly fantastic.

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The performances of all the cast members (both the stars and the relative unknowns) however it has to be Allen’s own performance which stands out; as he does the usual of playing himself. His part is small and hilarious and as his character prattles on about his fear of retirement and death; it is hard not to feel as if these are Allen’s thoughts on his real-life career rather than the one of his character.

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The storylines intertwine well and are tied together by a bouncy musical score which sums up the tone of the film entirely; and also the tone of life in Rome itself.

THE BAD

For all its enjoyability and funniness this film is lacking in any sort of depth. There are so many characters that they do not quite have enough screentime to become developed and are consequently more caricatures than anything. This helps with the comedy however also makes them forgettable.

The storylines are also disparate at times that the pacing of the film suffers; as the style switches from one genre to another. This makes the film a little bit of mess (as can be expected from this sort of film).

ALLEN SCALE

The film does relatively well on the Allen score. I elected to only give a quarter point for acting as Allen only appears in one of the four storylines.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

To Rome With Love is a good bit of fluffy cinema; a comedy that you could watch easily and enjoy. However the entire film does feel utterly forgettable and come the end of this challenge I doubt it will be one of the first films that springs to my mind. I therefore award the film 3 out 5 which when added to the score from the Allen scale gives this film an overall of 6 Woody’s.

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