As everyone knows, I am a huge fan of Woody Allen's work. So much so I prejudice my opinions overlooking flaws because I know he is a great director.


The great director is is now more loved in Europe than the United States. So much so he flipped Hollywood the finger and since 2005 has been filming almost exclusively in Europe - generally at the expense of the Europeans. This time it was Italy's turn.


Why wouldn't they take the gamble. His last film "Midnight in Paris" clocked over $151 million on a $17 million budget for his biggest and most profitable film ever. Well, that was then... this is now.

Once again Allen got an all star cast including Alec baldwin, Penelope Cruz and Jesse Eisenberg; oh and himself... to be in his film for what is always considered a pay cut.


Once again, he uses a multi-storied structure but with stories that seem unstructured and open ended.


For example Baldwin plays an architect who oversees the budding romance between Eisenberg and Ellen Page. Baldwin seemingly has set them up and nurtures the relationship up close and personally... almost like a ghost. But that's the thing... is he dead? His this a fantasy? Is this past or present? It's just left there.


Allen plays a retired opera director who discovers a bathtub tenor (played by Fabio Armiliato) whose regular job is a mortician. Woody's character, Jerry tries to develop the mortician into an opera singer. but the singer can only sing in the shower which sets up a scene from the Flintstones.

Roberto Benigni plays a run of the mill businessman who wakes up to find he is now famous for... well we don't really know. But he has paparazzi all over him from the minute he wakes up. I guess the funny part is he doesn't know why either.


So there we have three unrelated stories [as it were] seemingly randomly spliced together for a little over 90 minutes of (dare I say this about Woody)... agony!


what was most annoying as how awkward most of the cast looked, especially Eisenberg and Gerwig with Baldwin hanging around like a peeping tom. Woody even seems in another place and never gets his segment to gel. While there are some moments with Benigni and his ever animated mannerism that make his segment somewhat amusing it's just not enough.


So did Woody do this strictly for the money or to keep on his movie a year schedule? Who knows!


What I can say is that I will find all kinds of reasons to like an Allen film. Perhaps one needs to throw a few back to make sense of this thing... again, who knows?


"To Rome With Love" is not a good movie, in fact it borders on bad; something I never thought I would say about a Woody Allen flick. The good news is, his next film is shooting back in his home town of New York.   -- GEOFF BURTON