DVD Review: When In Rome

It’s not a secret that I adore Kristen Bell. I was a huge Veronica Mars fan, and I absolutely loved her in Forgetting Sarah Marshall – so I naturally assumed that I would enjoy When In Rome. And if Kristen wasn’t enough to sell me for it then Will Arnett would have sealed the deal. However, the movie left me incredibly disappointed. And here’s why…

It’s billed as a romantic comedy, which we all know can have a certain amount of cheesiness to it. But there’s the cute/funny cheesiness and then there’s When In Rome – a series of events that would no way unfold in real life the way they did in this film. And while I don’t mind romantic comedies taking a certain license of creativity when it comes to reality in order to make us gals sigh and say “aww”, there’s a point where it just becomes impossible to believe… and the audience loses interest.

Beth (Kristen Bell) plays a New York curator for the Guggenheim who has placed love on the back-burner. Her love is her work, which I can admire and understand. However, when she goes to Rome for her sister’s wedding – her stance quickly changes since her father told her to be “open to love”. But when she sees best man Nic (Josh Duhamel) kissing another girl (after he had been charming her), she finds herself walking into the fountain of love – and giving the statue a piece of her mind. She steals a number of coins and returns to NYC only to find that those guys who threw in those coins are now stalking her.. and madly in love with her. Nic, who also conveniently lives in NYC, tracks Beth down in pursuit of a date. But the big question is – is it him wanting a date or is it part of the fountain of love spell? The only way she’ll know for sure is to return the coin to its rightful owner or to the fountain.

The storyline alone seems kind of cute – it’s when you throw in the unnecessary continual clumsiness, the unrealistic interactions, and the humor which falls flat on it’s face…. It just doesn’t work.

And if you’re going to throw in references to other much loved movies (like Napoleon Dynamite by throwing in Efren Ramirez as Jon Heder’s side-kick), then also hand over the role of the magician to Will Arnett. Because come on, no one does the role of the magician better than Arnett. And that would have undoubtedly helped with the lack of quality humor. We’re not 8 years old, someone falling in giant holes on NYC sidewalks and hitting poles – just not that funny.

Then there is the issue of Nic’s reaction to Beth’s continual craziness. Sure, she’s worried that things might not be real – and a guy can be compassionate about that the first time he hears it – but Beth goes crazy on him a number of times and yet it only makes Nic love her more. No man in his right mind would keep pursuing that – even if “that” is as adorable and cute as Kristen Bell. And this is coming from a girl mind you.

The Blu-ray bonus features throw in an alternative opening and ending – both far worse than the ones used in the film – so they made a right choice there. I really don’t understand why these actors agreed to this film. They’re all so much better than this…

Throw this one back in guys. While it may look like something you’ll fall in love with – but the magic just ain’t there.

Grade: D-

Review By: Emma Loggins

Official Site: http://video.movies.go.com/wheninrome/


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