Review by Jane Louise Boursaw
Reel Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive content
Released in Theaters: Jan. 29, 2010
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Runtime: 91 minutes
Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson
Cast: Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel, Will Arnett, Dax Shepard, Jon Heder, Danny DeVito
Official Site: http://touchstone.movies.go.com/wheninrome/
SYNOPSIS: A young, beautiful New Yorker (Kristen Bell) is really unlucky in love, and gets even unluckier when she picks some coins out of the “fountain of love” at her sister’s wedding in Italy.
Sex/Nudity: Several passionate kisses. A newlywed couple are seen making out, both shirtless one time, although she’s covered up by an apron. A guy loves showing off his body, and takes his shirt off in public.
Violence/Gore: Not much, other than a few comic pratfalls.
Profanity: “Damn” and “hell” is about as bad as it gets.
Which Kids Will Like It? Kids 12 and older who like romantic comedies.
Will Parents Like It? It’s, but mostly forgettable.
REVIEW: “When in Rome” is one of those movies that’s cute while you’re watching it, but that you’ll probably forget within a couple of days. But in a sea of apocalyptic and doomsday movies out right now, its light-hearted nature is a nice change of pace.
It stars Kristen Bell as Beth, a young, ambitious New Yorker who’s focused on her career as an art curator and has never had much luck in the romance department. She’s all but given up on finding love.
When her sister tells her she’s getting married in Rome, Beth books a flight and figures she’ll be in and out in a couple of days, plenty of time to keep track of her latest work project — lining up artwork for a big show at the Guggenheim.
At the wedding, she meets Nick (Josh Duhamel), best friend of the groom. They hit it off, but when Beth sees him kissing another woman, she retreats to the “fountain of love” outside where the wedding is taking place, and proceeds to pick several coins out of the water.
What Beth doesn’t realize is that whenever you pick coins out of this particular fountain, whoever put them there will develop an immediate and insatiable attraction to you.
In this case, Beth chooses the coins of several wacky guys – Antonio (Will Arnett), an artist; Lance (Jon Heder), a street magician; and Gale (Dax Shepard), a male model. Or so he thinks. Danny DeVito is in there, as well. You’d think that all these funny guys pursuing Beth across the globe and into New York City would be hilarious, but they’re really only good for a few chuckles here and there.
Beth also chooses a poker chip out of the fountain, which she eventually comes to believe belongs to Nick. So the rest of the story moves along, as all of Beth’s suitors pursue her in crazy fashion, with her trying to figure out where she stands with Nick.
It’s all very cute. Bell and Duhamel are nice to look at, though they don’t share a ton of chemistry. All of the “wacky guys” are sorely misused. I would think the filmmakers could have capitalized on their funny-ness better than they did. As it is, they just sort of pursued Beth on the streets of NYC, and there was one mildly creepy scene where one of them gets into her apartment and lies in wait for her to come home.
Angelica Huston is also underused as Beth’s boss. She always seems to just play the stern characters these days, and you know there’s a lot more in there that could be used film-wise.
I’m not sure I’d recommend laying out the cash to see “When in Rome” in theaters, but once it comes to DVD and Blu-ray, you should check it out if you like romantic comedies and have nothing else to do that day.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.