Going to see To Rome with Love with the geriatric New York crowd is like going to an old age home where they laugh aloud at the corniest fucking two-bit Comedians who entertain their humdrum life. Sadly in this case the Comic in question is my dear Woody Allen (one of my personal heroes). Once long ago it was funny to watch the Woodman whine and complain, chalking it up to being just a neurotic New Yorker – where as now he just reminds me of my annoying Grandparents and every other condescending old fart who thinks by reading The Times and listening to NPR they are entitled some opinion on today’s modern society and pop culture trends. Combine those opiate of the masses with Woody’s latest inspiration, Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, and waste the price of a ticket at the dumpiest theater in New York City, The Angelika. (But what do you expect when most old fogey’s pay for HD TVs and Cable when they haven’t even a clue what the fuck an HDMI cable is?) I of course have never read the 14th-century medieval allegory and admit – never heard of it. Maybe it’s because I’m too busy analyzing and deconstructing Fifty Shades of Grey for a course I’m teaching together with Marshall McLuhan at Columbia called TV Media, and Culture.
Anyway, as usual the star studded cast waived their A-list fee to have a chance to work with Woody. But unfortunately their only consolation is kicking it in Rome for a few weeks on the company’s dime because their performances left for posterity are too painful to credit or watch. Specially the doomed fatal love story between architect student Jesse Eisenberg and name dropping freeloader Juno – whom is cast as a beguiling and intriguing tortured artist when all she’s really playing is her usual know-it-all skank-ass self. Still the most unbearable bit is Roberto Benigni who is reduced to being a symbol and commentary for Woody’s notion of the fickleness and vacuous of modern tabloid celebritydom, which is far from irreverent and instead just plain retarded.
The other unfunny story line is Woody’s – who, as a retired music agent, discovers a Mortician’s hidden talent to sing pitch perfect Opera in a shower!! Now isn’t that just a hoot? Well it was to the old fossils sitting behind me who were still laughing as Fabio Armiliato was sudsing it up well into the third act.
There are other vignettes to top off this shit show but if I told you the premise you wouldn’t believe me…like that Woman who gets lost in Rome looking for a hair salon…nevermind. As Woody makes a pathetic attempt to bookend the movie with a narrating Traffic Cop I only found myself wishing he’d be run over by a fucking Vespa! I know I should respect my elders but when in Rome these Geezers belong in the Catacombs.
From slacker-stoner humor, quasi method acting, sexually harassing pick up lines in Soaps, to Oscar contending and this years host, James Franco has women swooning over his eclectic choices in dabbling in whatever suits his fancy…and with that charming smirk don’t he know it!
Still, I find him still more deserving of Oscar for Best Actor over Colin Firth. I mean talk about a stuck up, bloody Englishmen! Maybe I’m regressing, but I don’t need to defend Franco (who even keeps my Mom wide-eyed after 11:30pm when hosting SNL) but how can you justify Anne Hathaway’s co-hosting along with him at the Oscars?! Let alone her whole fucking career? Besides Nolan who recently casted her as Catwoman in the next installment of Batman – thereby potentially ruining the series. Doesn’t she just strike you as the overly energetic and obnoxious theater bitch from high school who thinks she’s cute?
After a plethora of award shows that lead up to the Oscars, it looks like by having the dynamic comic duo of Franco/Hathaway to rival last year’s hosts, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, they are trying to steer away from sarcastic bashing celeb comedians who traditionally have hosted in the past and avoid the likes of funnyman Ricky Gervais. Maybe the real joke would be if the host won for the first time in oscar history or to rally for Conan!!
Body Of Lies, adapted by the same screenwriter as The Departed, William Monahan, proves to be just as far fetched and implausible, only without Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg farting out Shakespeare, resulting in a typical stylisitic rehashing of Syriana, the then current Middle East bomb infested terrorist action flick.
Amidst the war torn country of Jordan with all it’s civil unrest and harboring terrorist safe houses you can always count on some incognito American Counter Intelligence Operative, Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio), who manages to dodge bullets and missiles but is still unable to avoid getting bit by a dog – making time for your cliche romance with native nurse, Aisha (Golshifteh Farahani), who administers rabie shots to heal his wounds and then later of course, does double duty playing the damsel in distress.
(Poontang pie may taste as good as cherry but til Tastyvision who needs this mush?)
Meanwhile back in the good ole’ USA at CIA headquarters Ferris’ handler and superior, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) gaining 63lbs I guess to authenticate the gluttonous nature of American excess or simply the result and justification of him sitting on his fat ass while he monitors Ferris’ every bowel movement via the high tech unmanned aerial vehicle that is capable of zooming in on every fucking grain of sand in them desert regions yet is unfortunately unable to locate known terrorist leader, Al Saleem, whom recently masterminded bombings throughout Europe and whom both Ferris and Hoffman’s mission is to capture and kill.
Not only do they have this eye in the sky at their disposal to be in constant communique but also Ferris has uncanny cell reception in this barren wasteland when I can’t even get reception in my fucking house. At least this is more plausible then how Ferris is able to befriend the head of Jordanian Intelligence Dept., Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), to work in conjunction but then later without his authority set up a bogus terrorist cell and staging an attack on a US military base in Turkey using unclaimed bodies dressed as soldiers (hence the title) to deceive and lure Al Saleem into thinking maybe he’s not the baddest terrorist on the block anymore and to crawl out of his cave to be exposed to open fire. Not surprisingly this convoluted covert operation backfires resulting in Leo losing a couple of fingers and his patriotism. At least his and Crowe’s performance aren’t as annoying as Aisha healing Leo’s wounds.