ROMANTIC COMEDY; 2hr 4min (Italian with subtitles)
STARRING: Robert De Niro, Monica Bellucci
Love story: De Niro and Bellucci
Italians love to love, and amore at three life stages is the gauzy focus of director Giovanni Veronese’s hammily playful escapade. In part one, the most light-handed of the three, engaged young lawyer Roberto (Riccardo Scamarcio) is waylaid by a temptress (Laura Chiatti) from the life he thought he wanted, only to return to it with a fresh sense of clarity. In a protracted and clumsy part two, a middle-aged television newsreader (Carlo Verdone) falls victim to a fatal attraction, and in the final segment Veronese loosely pulls the threads of the trilogy together with the tall tale of retired American art-history professor Adrian (a lustreless De Niro, playing nice in underwhelming Italian).
Having survived a divorce and a heart transplant, Adrian is content to lead the quiet life in Rome, until mantrap Viola (a bosomy-And-How Bellucci) bursts into the picture. She’s a bundle of trouble but, boy, is he lucky to have her. Veronese isn’t up for profound conclusions — this is a dessert soufflé, not a moveable feast. It outstays its welcome and nothing is likely to linger but sometimes sweet and melting is everything you feel like.