Not the Best Allen
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TO ROME WITH LOVE
DIRECTOR: Woody Allen
CAST: Woody Allen, Judy Davis, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page
Allen and Ellen couldn't be more apart, but in her short career, the Juno actor has managed to cultivate around her a similar quixotic buzz — of standing consciously and conclusively apart from the rest. However, where Allen has made a career out of an insecure, neurotic person mocking others and himself, Ellen comes across as supremely content with who she is.
In To Rome With Love, Allen meets Ellen, to give us the most watchable and with-it character of this film that often meanders in its self-professed appreciation for the fantastic Italian capital. As a wannabe actor emerging from a failed relationship with a guy who was gay, Ellen as Monica is flitty and flirty in a devastating portrayal of the smart young things who pass for smart young things these days.
Monica knows just the twitter-bit enough of everything to pass of as a thinking person, says just enough to get one shocked and interested, and commits just enough to get the other person dangling.
The one dangling in this case is Jack (Jesse Eisenberg), the partner of Monica's best friend Sally. As Monica turns her full charm on him, he falls for her hook, line and sinker, even while denying the possibility of it to Sally.
It's easy to understand why Allen would cast Eisenberg, another guy who does misfits well. However, The Social Network actor is rather lost here as the guy falling for Monica's charms against his better instincts.
They are just one couple in this film of four parallel stories, and among its two interesting ones. The other interesting story involves Allen himself as the father of a girl who has found herself an Italian boyfriend, 'Michelangelo', she wants to marry. So Allen and wife played by Allen-regular Judy Davis fly down to Rome to meet his parents.
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