Lately I've been thinking that I want to start re-watching films with great scenes in Italy... the next best thing to being there. One of the best films like this from the nineties is was on cable the other day: Only You, a light romantic comedy starring Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr. and Bonnie Hunt (some would call it a chick flick).
The plot is straight out of the madcap romantic comedies of the 30s and 40s: The name of the "love of her life" is foretold when Tomei's character is a young girl... a name she searches for unsuccessfully right up until her pending marriage.
With Bonnie Hunt along for the joyride of a lifetime, she meets dreamy Robert Downey Jr's character and starts to fall for him... but pulls away knowing that he's not "the" man foretold as her lifetime love.
You can see where this is going... girl dumps fiance, searches for the perfect boy, meets another boy, dumps that boy, then realizes that she loves the new boy, then the new boy is found out as lying to her, she dumps him again... whew! Trust me, as it's happening, it's really not hard to follow... and neither are the beautiful backdrops of Italy.
The film is cute, funny and well worth a watch, but the scenes in Venice, Florence, San Gimignano and Rome are really worth it. There is even a recreation of the scene at the Bocca della Verita where they mimic the scene from Roman Holiday when Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn tempt fate by putting their hands in his mouth. The strange thing I noticed about this scene is that, unlike in Roman Holiday, it was filmed in front of a plastic prop--not the real Bocca. I can really tell when I look at the details of the Bocca's face, lips and eyes. What a shame. In typical Hollywood fashion, perhaps they shot many of the scenes on a Hollywood stage set... but I assure you, the exterior scenes are shot in the actual Bel Paese.
Have fun with this one. I suggest a bottle or Prosecco, some casual pasta dish that you can eat from bowls while sitting on the couch, your lover by your side and some Baci chocolates for later in the evening...