When in Rome (Blu-ray)

The official tagline for WHEN IN ROME is, “All is fair in love and Rome”, and well it’s not. In fact, there are a lot of things that aren’t fair about this movie. The good thing is that I had no expectations when I went into this so I wasn’t horribly disappointed. Sadly, it performs under the standard of a usual rom-com. The only save is a few funnies here and there, Kristen Bell, and the fact that Anjelica Huston found it worthy enough to take a small part.

Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel in When in Rome

Our story is centered on the young and talented art curator, Beth (Kristen Bell). When her little sister shows up on her doorstep to tell her she’s marrying a man she has only known for two weeks, Beth’s skepticism immediately kicks in. Reluctant of the odds they’ll stay together, she heads off to Rome to be in her baby sister’s wedding.

When she arrives, Beth is consumed with work. Rome doesn’t seem to provide or aid in any hope that true love will be found. During the reception she embarrasses herself until the best man, Nick (Josh Duhamel) saves her from furthering her humiliation. The two immediately hit it off and when Beth goes to make a grand romantic gesture, she sees Nick kissing another woman. In turn, Beth gets drunk and curses the Fontana de Amore (Fountain of Love). The fountain holds the coins of people who believe that it will bring them true love one day. Beth saves five suitors by plucking their coins out of the fountain.

Kristen Bell in When in Rome

When she gets back home, the coins have caused her a bit of pain. The five men (Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Danny Devito, Dax Shepard, and Duhamel) attached to those coins are desperately in love with her. This love borders on obsession when the guys start to effect her personal and work life. Beth must find a way to get the guys off her back, but find what real love is in the process.

When I said this movie wasn’t fair, I meant it. It’s not fair that Kristen Bell’s talents aren’t used to their fullest potential. For any of you who have seen the girl in REEFER MADNESS, you know there’s potential there. I never got into Veronica Mars, but there was a reason the show had a huge following. Bell also has great chemistry with Duhamel throughout the film. To be honest with you, Duhamel never came across as an actor that stood out amongst the others. In this film though, he came across a slightly charming.

Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, Will Arnett and Danny DeVito in When in  Rome

When you get down to it, the actors aren’t the problem. The cast would lead you to believe that this movie is going to be something entertaining. However, mediocre dialogue screws it up. Most of the funny bits are due to more physical comedy and the personas that the male suitors take on are just terrible. Out of Devito, Shepard, Heder, and Arnett you think one of them will be remotely funny—this never happens. If they were given opportunity to improvise more there might have been more to laugh at, but their performances are all phoned in. Not even two of my favorite female oddballs, Kristen Schaal and Kate Micucci could make me feel any better about the crap script.

As for the romantic aspect of it since this is a romantic comedy, it never really does anything for me. There were moments where Bell and Duhamel had me then I got lost in the sea of terrible dialogue again. It also didn’t help that the soundtrack was off the charms annoying. I don’t even think that a Justin Bieber fan would be into these songs. The only one that caught my ear was a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love”.

Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel in When in Rome

Overall the movie was just one of those brain off popcorn chick flicks. I think that the director, Mark Stephen Johnson was a bit rusty when it came to doing a lighthearted film again. His first film, SIMON BIRCH was a wonderful tearjerker, but this movie had no hold on my emotions. In my humble opinion, it all came down to a lackluster script. What boggles my mind even more is the fact that there were two writers involved in the screenplay, David Diamond & David Weissman. Why didn’t one of them just say, “Hey, this isn’t so great”. Instead they offered to hand us a film that doesn’t even do justice to the actors and actresses involved. Instead of falling in love, I think this one scared me away from it. Maybe one day I’ll watch it again, but I wouldn’t count on it.


Video: Great quality. The colors were bold, certainly not a bad thing. No complaints here. (2.35:1 Widescreen).

Audio: Everything was as clear as a bell on this one. No pun intended. The music offers some cheesy chick flick stuff that you would expect. Personally, not my cup of tea. (5.1 DTS-HD).

Alternate Opening & Ending (7:00) There is a reason that these are the alternates. This is not a great start to the bonus features.

Crazy Casanovas: Mischief from the Set (12:00): This is the only part I really was interested in. Mostly just to see Kristen Bell being adorable. You’ll get some background on the film, cast, and crew on this feature.

Kristen Bell and Mark Steven Johnson on the set of When in Rome

Extended Pain With the Suitors (2:00): The suitors act as their own exhibits. Didn’t really do anything for me.

Kerplunk!: Bloopers from Rome (3:00): Bloopers are usually supposed to be funny…these aren’t. Sort of a disappointment.

Deleted Scenes (7:00): A collection of deleted scenes that obviously should not have been used in the film.

Music Videos: “Starstrukk” by 3OH!3 featuring Katy Perry & “Stupid Love Letter” by Friday Night Boys (7:00): Unless you are a die-hard Katy Perry lover, or enjoy the torturous sounds of today’s excuse for what passes as music then I’d suggest skipping this entirely.

“Craziest Thing You’ve Ever Done for Love?” (0:56): Little easter egg that’s right under the last bonus feature. They just asked a few members of the cast that question. It’s cute, but could have done without it.


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