Let me start by saying how much I love Woody Allen.
I love him.
I loved him from the moment I saw the opening credits of his films for the first time. Annie Hall, Manhattan, Sleeper, Deconstructing Harry... the list of greats goes on. I even have a T-shirt with his face on it. However, he's admittedly not always great and has his fair share of misses. But that's okay. Especially because he's written, directed and released a new film every year since the late 60s/early 70s. But with his last film, Midnight In Paris, he'd reached an all new high he hadn't reached since the 90s - and arguably the 70s. I had restored faith in his ability to write both an extremely comedic film along with something incredibly creative and unique. Alas, To Rome With Love was not of the same quality and was quite a step down from his previous achievement.
Woody Allen's strength lies in comedy. His humour is witty and cynical - just how I like it. However he does have a penchant for tragedies, which unfortunately I find a little weak and watered down. To Rome With Love was like a weak and watered down comedy - just how I don't like it.
Overall, the film lacked soul. It was dull and tedious at times, but most importantly, the message each segment tried to convey was either pointless, or so oversold it also became pointless. I walked away with nothing. I chuckled a few times, but at nothing memorable. The characters were shallow which gave the actors nothing to work with, resulting in lines being read rather than acted (Judy Davis) - or just doing the same characters they always do (Jesse Eisenberg). Roberto Benigni's segment should have been five minutes long, but instead was dragged out to the point of exhaustion. Tiberi and Mastronardi's segment was a scattered mess of predictable unfortunate occurrences. Allen's own segment was overly long and tedious as well, but at least had the redeeming feature of Allen himself and his signature humour - which delivered the majority of the chuckles. And finally, the segment which probably held the most promise - Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg's. The inclusion of Alec Baldwin's character, acting a duel role of audience voice and internal character narration, added that extra element of intrigue and surfaced it with augur (only to fizzle out) - where the others sank with no avail.
It's a shame with such a great cast and director/writer that the film turned out this way. I can only hope his next attempt will be a step in the right direction. Or bluntly - better.