Watched Jun 09, 2012
Jonathan Hutchings’s review:
There's a theory that posits the main reason Woody's post-2000 oeuvre has been so lackluster is because he has gotten lazy. He so fixates on keeping up his one-film-a-year output that he carelessly mails it in (keeping most of his actors' first takes, providing minimal direction, maintaining the same narrative skeleton, etc.). Maybe I'm in denial, but I've never put much stock into that notion (after all, Match Point, Vicky Christina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris all came out in this era); however, after catching a pre-release screening of To Rome With Love at the LAFF North last night, I couldn't help but notice that it felt like Allen was sleepwalking through it on multiple levels.
It's no secret that he has a formula. When he's on his game, that formula can plume the depths of the human psyche better than most anyone; conversely, when he's not firing on all cylinders, his blueprint is stilted, cliched, and plays like a cheap imitation of a "Woody Allen film." His formula is just that: formulaic. To Rome With Love has a few charming and humorous moments, but collectively it lacks immediacy, and stumbles upon familiar terrain both cinematically and thematically, yet it has nothing insightful to say. He's been there, he's done that. And it shows. I don't need his films to be original (I love his point of view), but I do need them to matter. I hate to say it, but this film justifiably adds fuel to his critics' fire.