— by ALLISON HIGGINBOTHAM —
The title of the film “When In Rome” is taken from the saying “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” With this film, however, it was more like “when making a romantic comedy, do as all other romantic comedies do.”
“When In Rome” centers around Beth (Kristen Bell), a workaholic who has never found a guy who is more important than her job. When Beth’s younger sister gets married before her in Rome, Beth starts reevaluating her situation with men. At the wedding Beth meets Nick (Josh Duhamel), a goofy, charming ex-football player, and the two click. Beth soon sees some other girl macking on Nick and she falls back on her mantra of love not being worth it. In a fit of disappointment, Beth takes coins out of the Fountain of Love to set them free. It turns out that the fountain is magical and now the men who threw the coins in the fountain are in love with Beth. Beth soon starts falling in love with Nick, but doesn’t know if he loves her or if it’s only the fountain’s spell. Any of this sounding familiar?
This film was a serious disappointment for me. It took two of my favorite television actors, Kristen Bell and Lee Pace (of “Pushing Daisies”), and wasted their talent. Pace, a former Golden Globe nominee, was delegated to the role of jerk ex-boyfriend with five minutes of screen time at most. Bell, who was phenomenal in “Veronica Mars,” was forced into a stereotypical character whose emotions felt planned. Not only did “When In Rome” underutilize its actors, but it was so cliché that you could figure out the ending within the first 20 minutes.
The movie wasn’t all terrible, though. The supporting actors brought some comedy. Will Arnett, Jon Heder and Kristen Schaal in particular come to mind. Schaal’s scene is so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh. Josh Duhamel was also good and attractive as Nick, but for an ex-football player he sure was clumsy. Perhaps if the film had more originality, the actors would have made it better, instead of making me sad that their careers had come to this point.
“When In Rome” is directed by Mark Steven Johnson and is playing in theatres everywhere.
— Click here for seven clips from ‘When in Rome’ —
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Follow Allison Higginbotham on Twitter at http://twitter.com/allisonbh.