Tag Archives: love

55TH NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: LET THE SUNSHINE IN

LET THE SUNSHINE IN
France
Director: Claire Denis
Runtime: 92 minutes
Language: French

Mostlyindies.com grading: C+

If there is something one can state about acclaimed French film director Claire Denis is that she definitely is unpredictable. Most directors tend to have a connected style in their storytelling, and that, one can say, defines the director’s body of work. With Denis, you can’t really say her pictures have a theme, a sense that one story somehow flows right into the other even when some of her greatest films (Beau Travail, 35 Shots of Rum, and White Material) have taken place in Africa. Her 2013 film Bastards (Les salauds) was a compelling black hole masquerading as film-noir; the movie reeked of pure, conscious evil that lay within its characters. It was almost a horror movie by way of the human exploitation (and particularly the subjugation of women to their masculine counterparts).

Her latest entry couldn’t be more divorced from the underbelly of society and is even more removed by anything she has done before. The poorly titled Let the Sunshine In (technically, the title should read Bright Sunshine Inside) is a light as a feather character study of Isabelle (luminously played by Juliette Binoche), an artist going from one relationship to the next, each one ending in what seems to be an ellipsis. When we first see her, she’s in the middle of having sex with a married banker, That doesn’t end well, predictably so. She moves right into the arms of an actor, and then into yet an unnamed man who sweeps her off of her feet in a club to the sounds of Etta James’ “At Last“. [I sensed some perverse irony in the selection of this title, and Denis of course, delivered.]

My one problem with the movie stems from the fact that other than a leisurely paced portrait of a woman who’s basically clueless about herself and what she wants, Let the Sunshine In never quite manages to intrigue you about Isabelle’s misadventures in a way that Woody Allen’s female-centric studies do. It takes the very late entrance of a certain French actor posing as one thing, but being something completely different, to neatly explain Isabelle to us, even when she herself remains totally and tonally blind. Perhaps this is what Denis’ movie is meant to be: a snapshot of a ridiculous woman, on a love treadmill, going nowhere. Maybe I need to see this odd little film again when it reaches US cinemas (a thing that seems meant for next year). Directors love to play games on their audiences and remain one step ahead. For now, my impression is that of a movie that didn’t quite deliver despite having a brilliant star on scene for 90 minutes, living, breathing, and failing to love.

55TH NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Italy / France / Brazil / USA
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Runtime: 132 minutes
Language: Italian / French / English / German
Mostlyindies.com grading: A+

There was a pregnant tension in the air inside the Alice Tully during the half-hour leading to the world premiere of Luca Guadagnino’s film version of Andre Aciman’s novel Call Me By Your Name — would it remain faithful to the novel, how would the performances be, and what about that famous scene with a fruit? Not having read the book or known what the plot was about other than the synopsis featured in the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s page and a little apprehensive after seeing Guadagnino’s awful 2015 film A Bigger Splash that made its rounds in US theaters last year, I figured I’d give it a try based solely on the trailer. When it comes to LGBT cinema, I’ll usually watch them all — the bad with the good — because hey, if one can’t support it, what’s the use in complaining there aren’t any stories being told? And considering that this year the New York Film Festival has not one but three in its Main Slate — the other two being the Norwegian Thelma and the French BPM as well as Todd Haynes new film Wonderstruck and a restored version of G W Pabst’s 1929 classic Pandora’s Box, there should be enough quality to glean a lot of positive chatter about the state of Queer Cinema yesterday and today.

Luca Guadagnino again returns to his native Italy to take us into a sensual trip through a lazy summer in 1983. Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet) lives with his parents, both intellectuals, in a secluded part of Italy and have a tradition (established by his father, a history professor (Michael Stuhlbarg in a role that anchors and elevates the film) of inviting a student over for mentoring. Elio doesn’t quite care for this since his privacy will be altered, and could you blame him? The look of disdain on his face as he and his girlfriend Marzia get their first glimpse of the impossibly beautiful Oliver (Armie Hammer) emerging from his parents vehicle says it all. Elio is frankly, not impressed one bit.

Not that Oliver makes it easy, either: a good ten years older than Elio there doesn’t seem to be much holding them together. Both are clearly sophisticated in their fields; Oliver in his knowledge of history and languages; Elio, in music. However, Oliver varies from being dismissive to vague, flighty interest, and any attempt at dialog ends with a sense of the both of them being completely incompatible. Conversations end in moments of awkwardness, and no one seems to know how to break the ice. A visual discovery that Oliver is also Jewish, while striking a spark, also fails to really make things work between them. All Elio can hope is that the six weeks that Oliver will be in Italy will go as quickly and painlessly as possible so life can return to normal.

It’s this tension between the two that carries the story to its conclusion; constantly framed together, it only seems logical that something has to give. A first attempt at physical contact during a volleyball game backfires. A night on the town, where both Elio and Oliver dance with women, also goes south. It’s precisely at the halfway mark when we realize not that Elio has been resenting Oliver’s presence, but that he’s attracted to him, and this being 1983, a crucial year for gay men as the Disco era had begun to feel its aftermaths and AIDS had made its way to the cover of Time magazine, such feelings were best kept in the quiet and resolved in the dark.

What makes Call Me By Your Name succeed is precisely this need for silencing: Elio obviously doesn’t need his parents to know yet, but Oliver suddenly becomes less a Greek God in the flesh and turns into a vulnerable young man who doesn’t wish to harm this boy who’s clearly growing up and has a world to learn. Perhaps, also, he has his own demons to wrestle with, and again, the timing of the story is crucial. Both begin a dance of wanting to be as close as possible to wanting to stay away from each other, a thing that leads Elio to experiment with Marzia and sadly, lead her on. In the meantime we’re left to wonder, how much do the parents know about what’s going on?

The only one who seems to hint at something is Mr Perlman (although a telling expression in Mrs Perlman answers the age-old question of “Does Mother know?”). There is a build up to a scene that happens in stages. Firstly, a gay couple appears, and Perlman wants Elio to at least try to behave with a certain tolerance not because they’re gay or ridiculous but because they’re “both.” It’s the film’s one self-hating moment, a subtle slap that strikes at the way gay men were still seen at the time — campy, effete, diva-worshiping, and overall, emasculated. This is followed by another scene in which Perlman goes on and on about the male form and how it was admired in Grecian times. It’s a very telling revelation. MIchael Stuhlbarg’s delivering of his lines reveal something completely startling about his until then very worldly, bourgeois professor. So disarming it is, that even Hammer’s Oliver gets taken aback and it hovers over the second half of the picture until Stuhlbarg, practically doing nothing other than sit with his son, has the most ideal,naked, and emotionally revealing conversation any father should have. Because of this, his is the character that stands out the most because of how it informs the viewer of where he comes from other than making him “the clueless father”. Anyone — me included — knows that parents always know, but to do what Perlman does during the film . . . priceless. An Oscar consideration for Best Supporting Actor could happen for him.

I dare anyone to view this movie and not reminisce about those days of experiencing first love and choke a little on tears. It is as nuanced and detailed a love story as a coming of age, beautifully rendered by everyone onscreen, meticulously acted to a point where one would be hard pressed not too see oneself in any of the two leads, or perhaps the father. Several 80s New Wave classics make their way into the film (notably The Psychedelic Furs’ Love My Way), but it’s Sufjyan Stevens ethereal music, reminiscent of the early 70s, that paints this film in smoldering passionate hues that will still evoke emotions well past the end credits. Guadagnino in my opinion has made the perfect gay romance.

Call Me By Your Name just had its screening at the 55th New York Film Festival and will make its US premiere November 24.

THE BIG SICK

THE BIG SICK
USA
Director: Michael Showalter
Runtime: 120 minutes
Language: English, Urdu

Mostlyindies Grading: A+

If you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy unlike anything you’ve seen — one that offers sharp characterizations and respects its supporting characters and the audience that is shelving 15 dollars to go see it — then Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick is the movie for you, and the comedy of the summer. On surface and without knowing anything of its backstory, the premise of Emily Gordon’s and Kumail Nunjani’s screenplay would sound like a third-rate rom-com from the 90s with the added flavor of inter-racial relations, and would probably — no, most certainly — stick with pre-established stereotypes to induce some kind of satisfying resolution like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, or even (and I’m going back 30 years) Coming to America. However, their story — how they met, how they fell in love, and how human frailties and the need to get it right almost kept them apart for good — is so, so good, it almost begs to be expanded, and mind you, this is a movie that runs a minute over two hours.

Kumail Nunjani plays a version of himself, a struggling stand-up comedian living in Chicago who moonlights as a Uber driver. His parents — especially his mother — try unsuccessfully to hook him up to other Pakistani women because of a little thing called tradition to a culture’s norm of arranged marriages. Every woman he meets winds up leaving by herself and he for some reason keeps their picture in a cigar box, a thing that will come to haunt him later. During a comedy routine a girl heckles him. She turns out to be the very un-Pakistani Emily (Zoe Kazan, excellent), and what transpires is a case of meet-cute meets polar opposites. They just can’t keep apart from each other, and the more time they spend together, the stronger this bond between them is. All seems to be going well with the minor exception that Kumail won’t take Emily to meet his parents even though she’s been an open book to him.

And then . . . Emily finds the cigar box.

What would you do if you found that the person you’ve been dating and even planning with still carries a box with people he or she has dated over the years? Consider he’s never mentioned this to her, so all sorts of red=lights go off inside her mind. When Kumail finally does come around to tell her shortly after, it’s a minute too late: Emily feels betrayed to the core, and to add salt to the wound, she also doesn’t feel comfortable with being the woman who separated a family out of selfish motives. Perhaps, had Kumail been honest from the word go there could have been a different solution, but as it is, he chose to keep it from her, and now she feels the only way is out of the relationship. And out she goes . . . but she’s soon back into his life in a way Kumail could not have expected.

Kumail gets a call that Emily has fallen sick with a virus. Not having anyone to sign for her stay at the hospital and because her sickness has forced the hospital to perform a medially induced coma, he subs for next of kin. The following morning, Emily’s parents — Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) — arrive and aren’t too happy to see Kumail there. But there he stays, slowly ingratiating himself into their good graces as the three of them attempt to find a medical solution for Emily’s condition, which is stable, but delicate. In the interim, Kumail juggles an audition for a comedy event in Montreal and his parents continuing invasion into his own life as they present woman after woman after woman. One of them played by Vella Lovell stands out from the rest and has a poignant scene: after the requisite socializing, Kumail drives her home. She wants to meet him later on and clearly likes him. Kumail informs her that he won’t be seeing her or anyone else for that matter, because he is in love with someone else. She feels heartbroken, and in a quietly impassioned speech points out that she’s grown tired of the dating world and would like to meet someone to relax. What she can’t — or isn’t — unable to see, despite Kumail’s attempts to explain to her, is that theirs is a culture that is flawed by the very existence of arranged marriages. His explanation doesn’t really help the situation out, and in reality, it wouldn’t have anyway. The fact that Gordon and Nunjani keep it real at all times makes it the more painfully awkward but true to behold.

The Big Sick is the kind of story that could have devolved into screwball with romantic overtones, but because every character is fleshed out, and every situation is treated with precise honesty, showcasing comical moments interspersed or enhanced or at the expense of sadness, it manages to let itself breathe on its own merits and not even come close to wringing a tear from you (and promise me you will cry). Its story has a heart that is almost explosive, but one that knows where it will take you as you sit back and let its events happen and not many comedies have that sort of element anymore. Kumail’s parents (played by Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff) might seem stereotypical, but in fact, are Pakistani-Americans somewhat caught up in tradition and you can see where Kumail got his oblique sense of humor from. Beth and Terry never overstay their welcome, but have both powerful presences that make their mark onto the movie’s narrative. Most complicated of all is Kumail himself, playing himself, a man caught between love for a woman not of his culture and a passive-aggressive relation to his culture, which has long since had any significance in his life. What can you do when you don’t want to upset the cart and yet, somehow, you find that you can’t life with yourself when you do?

The Big Sick premiered June 23, but has since expanded to most AMC and multiplexes. I highly recommend it.

THE LOVE WITCH

THE LOVE WITCH
USA
Director: Anna Biller
Runtime: 120 minutes
Language: English

2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Every so often I’ll come upon a movie that is so left of weird it deserves to be examined under a microscope the size of the Hubble. The Love Witch, a movie that barely got its release at the very end of 2016 (not in Manhattan proper, but outside), somehow managed to wow the one or two critics that saw it, and by the time early 2017 rolled around, it seems that more and more critics were extolling on its glossy satire, its tale of feminism through the eyes of a Wicca witch, and acting so wooden it would be an insult to trees to call it that.

Of course, I got curious, and curiosity got the better of me, but I decided to wait until April when the physical DVD became available. Something about this oddity made me want to experience it, to see if in fact it lived up to expectations. So, when the DVD finally arrived at my house, I sat there in a mix of barely controlled anxiousness and a sense of doom all rolled in one. After all, this could go so far south as to fall off the globe, so I wanted to tread waters lightly. So. In went the DVD, and on came the movie, its main character’s lips a massive rose, her eyes as blank as an empty house that has never, ever had a tenant, and off we went to the races.

Let me pare this one down shortly because I don’t want to make a theses in an age when no one reads more than they can and anything north of a couple of paragraphs becomes a tl;dr thing. What is The Love Witch about? It’s about Elaine (Samantha Robinson, whom I’m not sure is a bad actress because I’ve no idea who she is), essentially subbing in for Kim Kardashian at her most expressive, trying to find that elusive young prince in a sea full of Californian frogs. Not a bad concept, but the catch is, she’s a practicing witch, and all the men who love her, die. So, as you can see, she’s in quite the predicament.

How do you retain your man when his emotions go bonkers and essentially kill him?

That’s the question the movie doesn’t bother to ask, much less answer. Anna Biller, who basically created a one-woman show here, pulls out all the stops in re-creating the mood and feel of the late 60s / early 70s genre films — the kind you would see playing super-late at night on Channel 11. And, because this is a spoof of that kind of film, it comes with its choice of bad editing — not in the choppy sense; The Love Witch is stilted but has no “old footage look”. Biller lets several scenes — such as when Elaine goes to a bar to meet up with Wiccan friends who essentially, talk to the camera for an uninterrupted 20-minute stretch about the story and purpose of Wicca. Much later, there is another extended sequence where Elaine meets the man she finally falls for (Gian Keys) — a man who was formerly investigating her for the untimely deaths of her former lovers — stumble upon a scene that seems straight out of a Medieval play. That scene also does nothing to advance the plot, and goes on interminably.

It’s hard for me to call this a bad movie because it’s clear it’s a spoof of bad B and Z-grade films. That it’s such a faithful rendering of that type of film — artless, plastic, cheap, with no scares to be found — that on that level, it should be noted. However, a spoof should at least have a slight sense of self-awareness to keep us in the know that this is not the real thing done by an inept director but a pastiche of it. It’s supposed to be a wicked send-up of feminism; I didn’t sense it, unless you call Elaine’s ultimate act one of the darker Lilith conquering Adam. [Wow — I got Biblical and all that!] It just runs 30 minutes too long, and it’s so stilted you’re often left wondering if a little editing and change of pace might not have helped.  When you wind up sitting with an expression as blank as Samantha Robinson’s, that feeling sums up the entire experience of watching The Love Witch.

MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

 

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The ghost of Yazujiro Ozu fills the observing eye that is director Jin Mo-young’s, capturing the tiniest moment of quotidian domestic activities in this often humorous, but ultimately heartbreaking documentary My Love, Don’t Cross that River. Husband and wife Jo Byong-man and Kang Gye-yeul have been together since she was 14 and he was about 20. They have been through the worst of times together, struggled through poverty, raised six out of twelve children, (some who make brief appearances here for Kang’s birthday, an event that ends in tears, implying some prior, off-screen family dysfunction), and now live alone, in near peaceful solitude, going through simple activities like lovers who just met and are still entranced by each others presence. Watching them play through the snow, splash each other with river water, or exchange chrysanthemums as Jo sings to Kang is moving, indeed. One not need to know the language or even pause to read the subtitles; as a matter of fact, I found myself entranced by the sheer expression of love that these two, who have been together for 75 or 76 years (they can’t quite remember), could express to each other. So, imagine what happens as Jo’s health declines and they go through the loss of one dog (Kiddo, a poodle) and see another one, whom they call Freebie, give birth to seven puppies. It’s a slow, but resigned march to the inevitable, one that Kang knows well. While she says she accepts what has to eventually happen, one cannot be prepared for the sheer outpour of emotion that overwhelms the camera and lingers on — again, much in the style of Ozu — as she begins the process of mourning. This is one of the most devastating “little movies” I’ve seen in a long time. If you see it, have a box of Kleenex handy, and do tell your loved ones how much they are worth to you. If anything, this remarkable documentary is evidence of the power of love (as cliche as it may sound), but also, the frailty of life itself.

THE MEDDLER

The Meddler:

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

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She’s the friendly woman not averse to dispensing motherly advice to anyone who will listen. She’s often helping other people in need, even to the point of giving them expensive gifts that they could eventually use. She talks to anyone who will talk to her. She radiates a comfortable warmth, and yet, she’s alone. And lonely.

What a wonderful picture The Meddler is. It’s not often that I get to see a movie that will show me someone I could easily relate to, and also show me someone I could feel repulsed about, and that is what I experienced while at the Angelika. Susan Sarandon starts the movie in pure Earth-mother form as Marnie and stays there, warm, open, not a mean bone in her, a mass of smiles and open gestures, wanting the best for her daughter Lori (an equally excellent Rose Byrne) who’s trying to make it as a screenwriter in Hollywood. When the movie starts she’s apparently narrating the events of what will be the film, when in reality, she’s just leaving Lori a voice message, albeit a long, long, very long one. [I know mothers like that; I had a mother who did this to me on a regular basis. Yes, it drove me mad, but more about that later.]

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Lori, on the other hand, has just ended a relationship with her boyfriend Jason and doesn’t exactly want any kind of help from Marnie, but Marnie can’t seem to take no for an answer and is, as a matter of fact, completely oblivious to Lori’s need for independence. Another film might have made this a rather creepy picture of a clingy mother and her smothered daughter, but The Meddler is different. It presents to you, the viewer, a sense that this is what you will be witnessing — with the requisite blown-out argument somewhere near the climax of the film, something reeking of 80s sensibilities. Nope. The Meddler brings that event much closer to the start, and Marnie, while shaken, doesn’t let this get to her: she gets right back on her feet and while Lori is in New York securing a job, Marnie has her own adventures where she insinuates herself into the lives of others who see her as a blessing rather than a nuisance.

And then she meets a man (well, two, one played for laughs by Michael McKeon), a former cop who now moonlights on the set that one day she wanders into (of which she becomes a part of in a cute film within a film). Zipper, as he’s named, played by J.K. Simmons, openly flirts with her old-school style, and wait until you see how he later in a scene where he takes Marnie to his humble place and introduces her to his chickens (who have a penchant for Dolly Parton covers, go figure) expresses falling smack on his face in love for her. You would love her, too — she’s that kind of woman.

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Eventually, The Meddler manages to address that all this being nice to others is really just a ruse for Marnie to negate her own feelings, and here is where the movie starts to reveal layers that an ordinary sitcom-intensive plot would have avoided. Marnie is truly a helpful person, and wherever she goes she leaves an enormous smile on people’s faces, but she’s also lonely. She misses her husband. And she can’t seem to reach out to Lori.

This is a wonderful movie to watch and I could completely identify with it. Having lost my own mother five years ago to a heart condition, I now miss our arguments, one trying to up the other, how she would very much like Sarandon “meddle” with my life even though I would tell her, “Mom, for Christ’s sake I’m a grown man. I’m 40!” Nope–that would fall completely on deaf ears. To her, I was a kid, and I was her boy. How I miss that.

The Meddler is as gentle as it is deep and everyone has their moment to give performances that shine and shed light to others. It’s a wonderfully funny little picture that benefits from its three leads and never veers too far into sentimentalism. Sarandon has never in my eyes been better than she is here, playing the character I came to know as Mom and giving her a fully-blown personality, loving and carefree.  It’s a picture of finding love and acceptance within ourselves, finding the good within ourselves, a picture of helping others whom we encounter, and how wonderful is that when it happens?

TUMBLEDOWN

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

 

Hunter Miles, like his real-life counterparts Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin, met an early demise at the prime of his life, and while he only produced one album, it caused such an impact among music lovers that they make pilgrimages to his grave and leave tokens of remembrance. Hannah (Rebecca Hall), his widow, has been somehow left in suspended animation: frozen in time and grief, but surviving regardless. She’s seeing a lumberjack (Joe Manganiello) as a form of sexual escapism while trying to write a book about Miles. What she doesn’t yet know until the call comes, is that someone else is interested in writing about Miles, and he may have a more objective point of view than hers.

The person in question is Andrew (Jason Sudeikis). A pop-culture professor, he’s aware of Miles’ influence and thinks there is a good book here. Conversations with Hannah both on the phone and in person turn immediately confrontational: they have different points of view, and it looks like the book will be buried even before the first sentence.

She decides to give it another swing, but their relationship alternates between professional and antagonistic. It’s understandable and Sean Mewhaw draws a solid study of a woman’s controlled pain confronted by the impending catharsis of a biography, but I suspect that Hannah’s cagey behavior hides the fact that she actually likes to be around Andrew, more than she would care to admit. The problem — and it’s one that Andrew himself will ask her at a point during the movie — is that he can’t possibly compete with perfection. And Hunter Miles was precisely that.

Tumbledown alternates with gentle comedy and drama well, reaching a solid, satisfying balance that will please women looking for a rom-com that’s not too sappy. Rebecca Hall continues to essay characters with repressed inner conflicts as she did in A Promise. Jason Sudeikis is quite good here, removed from the sillier comedies he’s done, and he fills his leading man shoes believably, with sensitivity. Perhaps the removal of some unnecessary characters thrown in for some quasi-romantic tension (Diana Agron, Joe Manganiello) would have sparked a two-character plot about discovery. Even as such it’s a good little variation on the opposites attract. Watch for Blythe Danner and Griffin Dunne in small, supporting roles that balance Rebecca Hall perfectly.

On Amazon Instant Video and iTunes

ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Hooked on Film rating:

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

There comes a moment in many actors’ careers where they essentially stop reaching for that higher performance and basically go on autopilot, repeating down to the minimum gestures the One Character / Affectations that made them famous. Come to think of it, we can’t but not expect it from them. Dame Maggie Smith  arches her eyebrow and give you a well delivered line; Tom Cruise bares his chest and attempts to recreate his invulnerability in every single film he’s in. With Sarah Jessica Parker, an actress not known for her depth of performances but for an HBO series where she played a shoe-loving sex columnist who also, let’s face it, was kind of a social climber, this has become her Everest. It seems that from then on, every movie Parker does she runs the gamut of Carrie Bradshaw and Carrie Bradshaw, and in a way, that’s okay. It works for her. We actually like it that way.

In All Roads Lead to Rome, a title that telegraphs the entire plot and hopes you’re in for the madcap ride like it’s the very first time, Parker, playing a single mother variation of Bradshaw, takes to Italy with her problematic, pink-haired daughter Summer (because, why not?) to show her the countryside. Also, to steer her clear out of doing time for her boyfriend who’s been caught with several kilos of pot and will face jail time, but wants Summer to take the fall for him. What-a-keeper.

Mother and daughter haven’t arrived when complications ensue, and the movie tries to milk language barriers for comedic effect in ways that not only don’t work, but backfire when things really take a turn. Somehow, Maggie finds herself walking back into the life of a former beau Luca (are all Italian men named Luca??), who lives in Tuscany with his perpetually grumpy mother (played by Claudia Cardinale — yes, that Claudia Cardinale). Now, you would think that the movie would stop to admire the sheer scenery and at least have one slow scene of Getting to Know You and establish character motivations, but the movie is on overdrive as it is, and in less than an eye-blink, while Luca and Maggie are off somewhere, Summer, who only wants to go back to the USA, takes off with Luca’s mother in tow. Slow down, people! You’re in the Italian countryside!

But why Luca’s mother? It seems she has a story-line too. She just wants to meet the love of her life who’s still in Rome, waiting for her. So off they go, and after them, Maggie and Luca, in an extended chase sequence that manages to up the ante in terms of miscommunications and screwball overtones. You can literally second-guess this one if you’ve seen any comedy of the likes of It Happened One Night and beyond. I’m not even going to describe it. All Roads Lead to Rome is a movie on autopilot wasting the talents of pretty much everyone in it (including Paz Vega who shows up as a news reporter aimed at also being something of a rival for Parker) that somehow, by the virtue of how light and inconsequential it is, manages not to flop. This is romance, ready-made, with prefabricated emotions, just for you.

On Amazon Instant Video and iTunes