Woody in Rome

If it’s Woody Allen, it’s probably worth the price of the ticket. A few random ideas, thrown together in what looks like a haphazard way, produces a worthwhile few minutes of either pastiche or comic genius in “To Rome With Love”. An American architect, revisiting his old stamping grounds, mentors a young and rather naïve version of himself – or is it himself – with girl trouble. The young man’s live-in girlfriend warns him about the impending arrival of her old chumlet, the overwhelmingly attractive, self-absorbed, absolutely believable (if you’re twenty) pseudo-intellectual who is coming to stay and with whom he inevitably and temporarily falls in love. She, on the other hand has a meagre clutch of one-liners from Pound, Kierkegaard and Camus, amongst others, that she drops like landmines on demand.
A pair of  honeymooners meeting the relatives stumble upon alternative partners one of whom – quite accidentally – resembles Gina Lollobrigida and sells her body for a living while his other half gets lost on the way to the hairdresser and finds herself a whisker away from seduction by a prominent, toe-curlingly lecherous actor.  Stuffy provincial relatives not amused.
An opera director, consumed with angst and hypochondria was pastured into retirement for attempting to stage ‘Rigoletto‘ with a cast of white mice, is in Rome with his psychiatrist wife – no prizes for casting here – and discovers in his prospective son-in-law’s mortician father a sensational singing voice, which, alas, only works for him when taking a shower. A performance of Rigoletto where the male lead is encapsulated naked in a shower cubicle, soaping himself with a loofah required the ultimate sacrifice in good sportsmanship.
A very ordinary office worker suddenly finds himself a celebrity for no discernible reason whatsoever, much like Paris Hilton who is famous for being famous. Cameras and press follow him everywhere, imploring his views on how he likes his breakfast toast, buttered or unbuttered, amongst other things, all hideous and banal.
Do all the plotlines finally and cleverly converge? Er, no. A cast of caricatures with the chemistry of everyone’s eccentricities and beautiful Roman backdrops keep things moving. Worth seeing, of only for the fact that many the characters have a habit of hanging around like friendly ghouls in one’s subsequent consciousness. 
So much for my little excursion into Art,  I’m off to decalcify the taps. Attaching vinegar-filled condoms overnight works well, one finds.

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