To Rome With Love begins with a traffic cop (Pierluigi Marchionne) welcoming the audience to the capital of Italy. From there the movie unfolds in characteristic Woody Allen colors, sounds, dialogues, and plot developments, all with an eager theatricality that presupposes someone will burst out in song in the next moment (but almost no one does), and spit out jokes that are both predictable and satisfying. This time Allen tries to please his younger audience with a hip cast and his mature fans with nods here and there to his past works. Whether he succeeds is a matter of taste.
The plot revolves around four stories. Jerry (Allen), a retiree who worked in opera and equates retirement with death, comes to Italy with his wife (Judy Davis) to see his daughter (Alison Pill), about to marry fiancé Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti). The father of the groom Giancarlo (Fabio Armiliato) turns out to have an amazing voice, which occupies Jerry for a while, with a few mildly enjoyable comic developments (recording artists and performers everywhere will enjoy a few scenes here).
Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) is an architecture student living in Rome with his unkempt girlfriend Sally (Greta Gerwig), who stupidly wears crumpled boy’s clothes and invites an obnoxiously fake friend Monica (Ellen Page) to live with them. Renowned architect John/older version of Jack (Alec Baldwin) is a magical-realist character occasionally appearing to preach to the young man about the dangers of falling for conning wannabe actresses for whom each life development is a chance to practice their ‘craft’. Baldwin is great in the part, bringing To Rome With Love closer to the amazing Midnight in Paris.
Antonio and Milly (Alessandro Tiberian and Alessandra Mastronardi) are a happy newly married couple in Rome to meet the wife's family. But everything goes wrong, and they end up with other people: she with a movie star (Antonio Albanese) and he with a hooker (Penelope Cruz), intended as a present for someone else. His new in-laws find Antonio and Cruz’s character in bed together, she tries to pass herself off as his wife, and if this part isn’t fun enough for the viewer, at least they can enjoy her impressive curves and irresistible, effortless sexuality.