Watched Jul 06, 2012
I sincerely hope that Woody Allen was just punking us with this To Rome with Love shit. Then maybe he could earn back a shred of his reputation for me. I could probably stop reviewing this movie after these two words: wasted potential. But I won't, because there is so much to hate about this movie that I feel I have to detail all of the ways this movie fails. It's heartbreaking, really. This had all the necessary ingredients for a fresh, original comedy and instead turns into an absurd, unbelievable mess. It's really immature, like Woody Allen hasn't accepted the fact that he's an adult human being yet. At 77, he's had more than enough practice being around adults to know how they function at this point.
A nice way to put it would be that this movie is lacking in adequate characterization. A better way to put it would be to say that the treatment of most of the characters was meanspirited and condescending, especially the Italian ones. They were merely there to be made fun of by the intellectually superior Woody Allen clones. Either Woody hasn't been around a normal, grounded human being in a very long time, or his body was snatched by an alien from a distant planet. This is evidenced by the most ridiculous and contrived dialogue to ever make it onto a movie screen. People don't talk, act, behave , or think like this. If they do… please keep them away from me.
The premise of each vignette is so promising that they could have each been made into feature length movies with the right writing and characterization. However, each one veers off in the most implausible ways, making them seem extremely forced just to appear original. It's like he was trying to distract from the fact that the entire movie is devoid of wit and humor. What a dick move. Not only does this film fail to bring together the four disparate vignettes into one cohesive plot, there is no plot in the individual vignettes themselves. The stories go absolutely nowhere. The idiotic placement of the narrator bookending the film was such a poor choice, I felt physically ill after the movie.
What annoys me most about this movie is that there was so much opportunity for creativity and originality. The casting was excellent, especially Judy Davis and Alec Baldwin. The ideas for the vignettes themselves weren't bad at all, some of them could've been hilarious! Instead, all of it falls flat because it isn't human and real at all. If this was supposed to be blatant fantasy, like an alternate universe (sort of like Midnight in Paris) it could've worked. What it turns out to be is a rushed, incoherent series of vignettes that never connect, overlap, or relate to each other. It's just a bunch of people in Rome doing things in situations that are the complete opposite of entertaining. How is it possible that the high point of this movie is a man standing naked in a portable shower, singing timeless operatic masterpieces to a theater full of people? I just can't deal with how bad this movie is.
I'm thinking I can never watch another Woody Allen film unless it has been carefully vetted by someone I trust, because I can't go through this experience again. I'm seething with anger! Yes, I learn just as much from watching horrible movies as I do from the good ones, and I say it builds character, but I really wish I had spent my 2 hours doing something else. I regret seeing this SO MUCH.
Can you tell that I hated it? I hated it. I still hate it months later. I'm going to hate it forever.