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Review: The cast went to Italy and all we got was the bland romantic drama ‘Lost in Florence’

‘Lost in Florence’
Brett Dalton and Emily Atack in “Lost in Florence.”
(Thirtyfour Seven Films)

The ancient game of calcio storico, played in one Italian city for a brief period of each summer, proves rejuvenating for the brokenhearted American at the center of “Lost in Florence.” For the audience, it’s the only intriguing element in a seemingly tourist-bureau-sanctioned travelogue posing as a romantic drama.

Brett Dalton plays American tourist Eric, an aspiring NFL player whose ultra-whimsical proposal to his girlfriend (Emily Atack) is the first sign of trouble — for viewers as well as Colleen. She promptly flees their Florentine holiday. Those with more staying power will find a despondent Eric extending his stay with his cousin (Stana Katic) and her Italian husband (Marco Bonini). The latter introduces him to calcio, a gladiatorial free-for-all that’s a precursor of rugby and soccer.

Incorporating footage of actual matches and the associated pageantry, writer-director Evan Oppenheimer acknowledges the roughness of the seasonal game, if not its extreme brutality. And despite all the museum-guide historical info funneled into dialogue, there’s no mention of the fact that it was Mussolini who revived the 15th-century sport.

Whatever its roots, Eric proves a natural and talks his way onto the Santo Spirito squad, giving it a shot at the championship after a five-year losing streak. That he also becomes secretly involved with Stefania (Alessandra Mastronardi), the girlfriend of team captain Paolo (Alessandro Preziosi), provides the supposed friction in this bland match-up between tidy plans and unpredictable life.

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‘Lost in Florence’ 

Not rated     

Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes 

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Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills; also on VOD

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