112 minutes, U.S.A.-Italy, 2012, Colour, D-Cinema

Woody Allen’s European tour continues with this sojourn in The Eternal City, where he gathers a stellar cast to deliver a sprinkling of comic vignettes. Making his first acting appearance since 2006’s Scoop, Allen himself joins the fray as a retired music exec who reckons his daughter’s prospective father-in-law could be the next Pavarotti.

Elsewhere, Roberto Benigni heads the Italian contingent, playing a ‘Mr. Average’ thrust into the media spotlight in a caustic comment on the flimsiness of celebrity, as the movie sets sundry stories in motion. For that reason it’s not quite as focused an affair as Allen’s previous Midnight in Paris, but the continuing allure of the veteran writer-director is certainly illustrated by the roll-call of talent for the section where famed architect Alec Baldwin casts a jaundiced eye on the three-way romance evolving between student Jesse Eisenberg, nominal girlfriend Greta Gerwig and neurotic interloper Ellen Page. They make a charming trio, and Rome, needless to say, looks decidedly inviting. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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