All Roads Lead to Rome (2015)

All Roads Lead to Rome (2015)
  • Time: 90 min
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: Ella Lemhagen
  • Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Raoul Bova, Claudia Cardinale


Maggie is an uptight, single mother and college writing teacher from New York City. In an effort to reconnect with her troubled teen daughter Summer, she decides to embark on a journey to a Tuscan village where she frequented in her younger days. Upon arrival, Maggie runs into Luca, a handsome former lover who is still a bachelor and lives with his eighty-year-old mother, Carmen. Summer (missing her “bad boy” boyfriend in NYC) and Carmen (secretly planning a wedding against Luca’s wishes to Marcelino, her one true love in Rome) impulsively steal Luca’s car and race off to Rome. Maggie and Luca quickly pursue allowing the two mismatched couples to spend some time together and develop a new understanding of each other.

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  • All Roads Lead to Rome begins with newly divorced Maggie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her sullen teenage daughter Summer (Charlie Day) on an airplane. The setting is apt for this is the type of film that one would never sit all the way through unless confined to a single place for several hours.

    Maggie and Summer are on their way to Italy, where Maggie hopes her daughter will have the same wonderful experience she had 20 years earlier. More than a Roman holiday, Maggie intends on preventing Summer for taking the fall for her no-good boyfriend, who is charged with drug possession. Summer reckons that the punishment probably won’t be so bad since she’ll be charged as a minor. That’s the sort of fuzzy logic that screenwriters Cindy Myers and Josh Appignanesi have wholeheartedly embraced as their mission statement for at no point does All Roads Lead to Rome make any solid sense.

    It’s cringe-inducing to watch the naturally effervescent Parker struggling to overcome the script’s triteness. Things look up ever so slightly when Raoul Bova enters the picture as Luca, an old boyfriend whom Maggie loved and left during her Italian idyll all those years ago. Bova, of course, seduced and abandoned Diane Lane when she went to get her groove back in Under the Tuscan Sun, and he appears destined to be the go-to heartthrob for women whose wounds can only be licked by foreign dreamboats. It would come as no surprise to find him in ten years’ time co-starring in a similar love story with someone like Julianne Hough, Kate Bosworth or Lake Bell as his leading lady. Bova and Parker share a sweet chemistry, which makes the terribly tedious goings-on mildly tolerable.

    They spend most of the film chasing after Summer, who has stolen Luca’s convertible and her mother’s passport in a desperate (and typically illogical) attempt to board the next flight back to the States. Summer’s plans are thwarted by Luca’s grumpy mother Carmen (legendary beauty Claudia Cardinale), who orders the rebellious runaway to drive to Rome, where Carmen is scheduled to marry a man she last saw over 30 years ago. Naturally the mismatched Summer and Carmen bond. Of course Maggie and Luca find themselves rekindling their feelings. Yes, misunderstandings abound. So does hackneyed dialogue and ridiculously contrived situations.

    The direction is flat, and other behind-the-scenes contributions are standard at best. Paz Vega, as a former girlfriend whose help Luca enlists, is utterly wasted. The one genuine surprise is Summer’s Italian romantic attraction. Otherwise, All Roads Lead to Rome is a terrible, terrible, terrible movie.

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