Written by Pollo Misterioso
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? In an attempt to take part of a catch phrase and make it a suitable title for a film, When in Rome, the movie, becomes more a cliché than a decent film. On the surface, the film is fun, fresh and fast-paced but on a closer look there is not much more than that.
Beth (Kristen Bell) is an aspiring curator who is handling an important art benefit in a few days. When she gets word that her younger sister is getting married in Rome, she flies off to Italy for a few days for the wedding, but warned by her boss (Angelica Houston) that her job depends on this show. At the wedding she meets Nick (Josh Duhamel) but is soon disappointed when she assumes that he is not interested in her. That night, she taunts all believers of love when she steals five coins from La Fontana de Amore before heading home. The myth goes that if you take someone’s coin from the fountain, they will fall in love with you. On her return to New York, she is obsessively stalked by the men whose coins she took. With only a few days until her big show, she struggles to find the difference between a love spell and love, while trying to keep her job.
With a few lines of dialogue we find out that Beth is a workaholic and cannot date a man because of her job, also that she does not believe in love. When five strangers that unconditionally love her chase her around the city, both her and her closest friends begin to rethink what this means. There is the street painter, (Will Arnett), the sausage manufacturer (Danny DeVito), the street magician (Jon Heder), the male model (Dax Shepard) and the sports columnist Nick, who used to be a star football player before he was struck by lightning. These characters provide the most entertainment throughout the film. They all only have small roles but they bring their comedic, lighthearted energy to their bit parts.
With such a star cast, it is a shame that none of the characters are given time to develop; every scene is split between Beth, a suitor, and an awkward situation and there are not very many of these scenes. Even the relationship between Beth and Nick is given so little time that it becomes forced and unbelievable. We are to understand that the film only spans a few days and when she “falls in love” with Nick, it is as trite and overplayed as throwing a coin in a fountain—we don’t believe either.
More unbelievable than Beth falling in love, is that anyone could fall in love with Beth. She is neurotic, insecure and often mean to those around her. Her courtship with Nick always leaves him chasing her through restaurants, rainstorms and even out of the chapel at their wedding. He has had one decent conversation with her and yet still seems to be chasing Beth with thoughts of love—making the other guys under the spell look saner then him.
But in they end we are to believe in true love in this fast-paced environment. You can fall in love quickly and awkwardly, if you are open to it. When in Rome has many great moments that keep the film moving and the viewer guessing what will happen next; just don’t look too hard for much more, the fountain in this film has very shallow waters.
The DVD extras for “When in Rome” include deleted scenes, bloopers and music videos from some of the bands that have songs in the film. Take a look at both of the deleted scenes and bloopers; there are some very funny takes and ideas that did not make it into the film.