Sunday 26 May 2019

Movie Review: All Roads Lead To Rome (2015)

A romantic comedy set in Italy, All Roads Lead To Rome deploys a meek plot in service of a travelogue.

Recently divorced journalism teacher Maggie (Sarah Jessica Parker) heads off to Italy for a vacation in Tuscany, where she spent one summer 20 years ago. Maggie has forced her teenaged daughter Summer (Rosie Day) to accompany her on the trip, although the sullen and rebellious Summer would much rather be with her no-good boyfriend Tyler, who wants her to take the rap for a drug charge.

Once in Italy Maggie quickly reconnects with her lover from youth Luca (Raoul Bova). His stubborn mother Carmen (Claudia Cardinale) has secret plans of her own. Summer and Carmen form an unlikely escape alliance, jump into a red Alfa and head to Rome. Maggie and Luca race after them in a yellow econobox.

Clocking in at exactly 90 minutes, All Roads Lead To Rome is a frivolous foreign frolic. The story is contrived, the slow countryside chase unnecessarily prolonged at every opportunity with witless plot points. The one and only objective is to showcase the Tuscany landscape, and director Ella Lemhagen fills about half her movie with shots of either the red car or the yellow car traversing the idyllic scenery.

The time spent on the road should provide ample opportunities to delve into the four characters, but only the most rudimentary dialogue exchanges are allowed to interrupt the pretty pictures. As a result, once the chase makes it way to Rome the significant attitudinal changes required to achieve the multiple happy endings are sudden, jarring and utterly unconvincing.

With the bickering between Maggie and Luca often stalling their ancient sub-compact in neutral, the Alfa contains the film's few positives. Claudia Cardinale's crusty performance occasionally threatens to rescue the film, her eyes still sparkling with spirit at 77 years old. And Summer's moment of romantic awakening on a dusty Italian country road is the one welcome and clever twist.

Otherwise All Roads Lead To Rome is pretty to look at, but as predetermined as the title suggests.

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