Lost in Florence is like a feature-length commercial for a travel agency. While writer-director Evan Oppenheimer’s tale of love, sport and Italian culture captures the landscape with a pleasant sheen and certainly makes Florence look like a lovely vacation destination, its narrative contains little emotional pull and too few surprises.
The film opens with the kind of cutesy scavenger hunt proposal setup that makes you instantly distrust the couple at its center. From there the plot thickens, mildly, as Eric (Brett Dalton), the blandly hunky protagonist, is rejected by girlfriend Colleen (Emily Atack) and left to sulk around Florence in search of diversion and meaning. He finds some respite in the ancient Italian sport of calcio storico, a combination of rugby and street fighting that offers an emotional outlet — as well as mild homoerotic spectacle.
Eric ultimately ends up falling for Stefania (Alessandra Mastronardi), the girlfriend of his teammate; though an appealing presence, she eventually makes you wonder how to say “manic pixie dream girl” in Italian. She and Eric ride Vespas and eat gelato, and it’s all just a bit too cute.
Perhaps if Oppenheimer focused more on Eric’s relationships or his athleticism, the film would have more of an impact, but in trying to bring relationships and sports together in a glistening, advertorial-ready Italy complete with an uncannily generic-sounding score, neither narrative thread makes much impact. Lost in Florence mostly has the effect of lulling the audience into a craving for wine and spaghetti.
Lost in Florence
Directed by Evan Oppenheimer
Opens January 27