It is a series of unconnected vignettes all set in Roma, a young couple coming to the city, a schmuck who suddenly becomes famous for no apparent reason, a man visiting where he spent his youth, and Allen himself along with his wife coming to Rome to visit his daughter and her fiancé.
While the film does channel Fellini it also, in some cases, takes Allen back to his “older, funny movies.” There are scenes in this that call to mind Take The Money And Run—except instead of playing the cello in the marching band the sight gag involves an opera. Allen isn’t a youngster anymore.
The portion of the film about the young couple, a schoolteacher and her husband, is also wonderful and reminiscent of Felliini. He comes to the city to meet uptight relatives who mistake Penelope Cruz, a hooker, for his wife. She, played by the lovely Alessandra Mastronardi, gets lost in Rome while trying to find a place to get her hair done. The husband, played by Alessandro Tiberi, is another version of Allen and he is a perfect Italian Woody Allen. How many Allens can you fit in one film?
As in Midnight in Paris, Allen takes his audience on a tour of the City of Lights. He also takes time to skewer the pompous (making himself a target) and fire a couple shots across the bow of our “reality television” entertainment world. None of it is done in a heavy or ham-fisted way. This is a light movie, it is a sweet movie. It is a movie you get to see Penelope Cruz in a short skirt.
Where is Woody Allen going to go next? Allen has turned into a directorial version of “Where’s Waldo.” He took on Paris last year and Rome this year. I am hoping Sweden.