“Woody Allen scored artistically and commercially on his European tour stops in London, Barcelona and Paris but gets a face full of linguini for his efforts on To Rome With Love,” writes Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy. “At its worst squirm- and grimace-inducing, this is an ultra-upscale touristy spin through the Eternal City as if arranged by the concierge at the Excelsior Hotel.
“Rehashing gags and motifs familiar from various previous Allen films, all of them better done the first time around, the Sony Pictures Classics release might benefit initially from the good will generated by last year’s Midnight in Paris, Allen’s biggest hit ever, but word-of-mouth will nip hopeful expectations in the bud. Having opened in Italy on April 20 only in Italian-dubbed prints, the film had its English-language version world premiere Thursday at the Los Angeles Film Festival, with limited release to begin June 22.
“All things considered, it’s a relief to learn that Allen’s next production will be set in New York and San Francisco, as he would seem to have played out his string in Europe for the moment. Although the character he portrays here is a reluctantly retired opera director who discovers a brilliant tenor, Allen the writer-director has gone tone-deaf this time around, somehow not realizing that the nonstop prattling of the less than scintillating characters almost never rings true.”