Who's In It: Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Egan, Gael Garcia Bernal, Franco Nero
The Basics: You know how it is when you go off to Italy with your boyfriend and he ignores you and so you go to the house of a fictional character where lovesick ladies leave heartbroken letters stuck to a wall and then you find one that's been there for 50 years and then you meet the widowed lady who wrote it and go off on a a road trip through one picturesque Italian village after another until you find the now-70-year-old guy she's been pining for her whole life? And the widow's seemingly snooty but secretly warm-hearted and deep-thoughts-having grandson comes along and you fall in love with him? That's one of the functions of cinema, the telling of stories we can all relate to.
What's The Deal: The romantic-comedy bar has been lowered to the point where anything that isn't soul-shatteringly stupid, insulting, woman-hating and deserving of choking on its own lies--27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth or anything else starring whatserface from that doctor show--feels like a breath of fresh air. So when a wholesome, sweet-natured fantasy about people both old and young experiencing true love comes along and it never once feels the need to douse them in mud or humiliate them for their desires, it's kind of... refreshing? Like I feel something approaching guilt for not hating it. But, yeah, I just can't bring myself to shred it.
Who's Responsible For Me Going All Lady All Of A Sudden: I'm going to blame Vanessa Redgrave. You could put her in one of the Saw movies and she'd elevate it somehow. And when you see her here, you get the feeling that she knows the material is laughably weightless, but still she invests herself. You wind up feeling more and more empathy for her until that big moment where she finds her long lost love--he even rides up Old Spice commercial-style, a strapping septuagenarian straddling a steed--and her face registers about about five different emotions at once. The older ladies sitting next to me at the press screening were audibly swooning right along with her.
Typecasting Alert: Amanda Seyfried is quickly becoming the go-to innocent for movies like this, Mamma Mia! and Dear John. In fact, Dear John is also about weepy letter-writing. So if whoever is running her career props her up on one of those two-wheelers they deliver appliances with and rolls her over to the set of You've Got Mail 2012, I hope she jumps off and runs quickly to a shelter for misused ingenues.
Stunt-Casting Alert: The silver-fox love of Redgrave's life is not played by the Dos Equis guy, as you may mistakenly think when he gallops up for the first time. It's actually Franco Nero, with whom she had an affair and a child with while shooting Camelot in the late 1960s; he's now finally her off-screen husband. So those screen kisses are the real deal.