All Roads Lead to Rome: Forgettable, Outdated Rom-Com
Claudia CardinalePaz Vega...
In 1 Cinema
Critically acclaimed Swedish director, Ella Lemhagen, has made a name for herself over the years for her penchant for coming-of-age stories, but her first foray into filmmaking outside of her homeland – a vacation-based rom-com – is just as unimaginative as its premise suggests.
The story is centred on single-mum, Maggie (Parker), and her struggles with rebellious teenage daughter, Summer (Day). In an attempt to pull her away from her druggy boyfriend – and potentially ruining her life by taking the fall for a marijuana possession charge – Maggie takes Summer to Italy, where she had a romantic fling with a handsome local named, Luca (Bova), twenty years prior.
Maggie is surprised to find that Luca is still living with his grumpy mother, Carmen (played by the Italian beauty Carmen Cardinale), but before they get a chance to catch-up, Summer hightails it to the airport with Carmen – who has her eyes on meeting up with an old flame in Rome – setting up a romantic cross-country chase.
While the idea of watching Sarah Jessica Parker getting her groove back in the beautiful Italian countryside and reuniting with an old flame – yep, that’s the same guy Diane Lane hooked up with in Under the Tuscan Sun back in 2003 – might sound like a solid set-up for a passable rom-com, Lemhagen’s clumsy execution does and already flimsy plot no favours.
Saddled with a ridiculously forced and unnatural energy – not to mention the awkward pacing and cliché-ridden dialogue – the film simply goes through some very outdated motions. Sure, there is something amiable about its simplistic setup and Parker and Bova actually share an easy chemistry, but it’s the predictable turns and gaps in logic – such as how Summer was planning to board a plane with her mother’s passport when she makes a break for the airport – get in the way of any potential satisfaction.
There’s plenty of pay-off to be had – a forty-something year old woman finds renewed sense of adventure and rekindling things with an old flame, or mother and daughter reconnect on a deeper level – but neither of those feels satisfying, thanks mostly to the fact that the film lays out its plot early on, with nothing original or unique in the mix.