TRAVELING TO ITALY IN SEARCH OF CUTENESS
Letters to Juliet, another rom-com, requires a tolerance for cuteness that goes way beyond anything I could muster. The movie travels to Verona, the town in Italy where lovelorn women leave notes for Juliet (yes, that Juliet) embedded in a wall. Amanda Seyfried's Sophie learns about this romantic Wailing Wall when she visits Italy with her fiance (Gael Garcia Bernal). Sophie's fiance, a fanatically ambitious New York chef and restaurateur, is too busy sampling food and wine to spend any time with his future bride. Left to her own devices, Sophie meets a team of local women who answer some of the letters that have been left for Juliet. The plot revolves around a 50-year-old letter to which Sophie finally responds. Sophie's belated reply brings Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) to Italy with her grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan). Claire searches for the lover she abandoned when she was too young and frightened to follow her passion. Sophie, who aspires to be a New Yorker writer, follows Claire and Charlie around. Of course, Sophie and Charlie bicker. They also fail to realize what we know from the outset: They're made for each other. Letters to Juliet, on the other hand, seems made for those with a high tolerance for contrivance, phony romance and movies that expect the scenery to do at least half of their heavy lifting. Expect a hit.