The Brag

Film Review: When in Rome (April 22)

In Arts, Blog, Film Reviews on April 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm

When in Rome
Opens April 22

You can almost forgive this off-kilter romcom for its “pizza and pasta” representation of Italy’s capital city, but forgetting the lumpy scripting that makes When in Rome neither romantic nor particularly funny, is a lot harder.

Career gal Beth (Kristen Bell) is appalled when she finds out her younger sister (Alexis Dziena) is getting married in Rome to a man she has only known for two weeks. The youngest curator at New York’s Guggenheim, Beth lives for her work, neglecting her social life.

At the wedding Beth meets cute best man, Nick (Josh Duhamel) and the attraction is instantaneous. However a misunderstanding results in Beth drunkenly fishing five coins from a wishing fountain and returning to NYC with them. Italian magic compels the owners of the coins (one of whom may or may not be Nick) to fall madly in love with Beth. It is from this point, in theory, that hilarity should ensue.

Kristen Bell’s (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) charisma can only do so much with this woeful plot. Bell, who usually takes parts with more bite, doesn’t suit this whimsical romcom. Dax Shepard (Baby Mama) and Will Arnett (Arrested Development, 30 Rock), cast as two of Beth’s suitors, should be praised for providing the film with its funnier moments. These actors deserve better than this Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil, Ghost Rider)-directed film.

You have to wonder what magical forces compelled so many talented actors, including Anjelica Huston and Danny DeVito, to sign on to this project. When in Rome fails to provide the requisite comedy needed to really enjoy a film. Similarly the necessary romance is missing, making it hard to care if Beth and Nick get together or not. Too concerned with pleasing everyone, When in Rome’s filmmakers may find they have, in fact, pleased no-one.

Beth Wilson


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