10 May 2012 | harrywhogivesasheet
Motel 8 with a Rome Hilton facade.
For those who live or have actually traveled to Italy; imagine you are walking towards the Rome Hilton (which was a very elegant and plush establishment, as I recall from so many years ago), or the Waldorf Estoria, for those not familiar with the aforementioned Italian high end hotel. You walk up to what appears to be a beautifully built and lavish edifice that echoes of history and prestige and as the doorman opens the door separating the outside from the inside, you realize as you take those first few steps that you've just walked into the lobby of a Motel 8, or any of those "budget inns" that while functional and serve their purpose, are a far cry from what you might have expected by looking at the exterior. That experience would be the best way to describe this film.
Everything from the title to the setting, to the cinematography and the two main characters, bespeaks of a grandeur to come. However, its never delivered, or even left at the door and what we are relegated to is not unlike the menu of a hotel lobby vending machine. All the staples are there; the clichéd and contrived desperation you might find in a first year film student's production; where they are so anxious to get their "message" across, even if there is no actual message. The dull and frequently over dramatized allusion of a passion that simply isn't convincing, as well as the dialogue that makes attempts at "art house" depth, but is actually closer to a 1970s Giallo b-grade script; where the characters hang on every sentence as if promising a clue of what's to come, but their empty words only end up being a painful and constant buildup to that which never does.
Now I didn't walk into this expecting it to be a soft-core sex film, nor was that what I was looking for. Which is fine, because its actually closer to feather-core and based on the remaining content of the film which simply put, consists of two fit and attractive women who remain predominately naked throughout the picture and unconvincingly attempt to make us believe in their increasing affection for one another, perhaps the former option would have been more successful for all parties involved.
The film tries. It tries to create a depth to two women who are essentially having little more than an overnight fling. It tries to deliver eroticism and sensuality. It tries to be something that (as one previous commenter mentions) "panders to an American audience," but it also tries to provide for those who might be looking for more high-end "accommodation." It tries and tries, but in the end when that hand is extended with its palm up and waiting, all I could manage to think was, "for THAT kind of service I could have done without the bags."
A Room in Rome is about as deep and interesting as hotel closet and left me feeling as satisfied as if I'd just checked into one.