Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Cast: Kristen Bell, Josh Duhanel, Jon Heder, Alexis Dziena, Will Arnett, Angelica Huston, Dax Shepard, Danny DeVito, Don Johnson, Lee Pace
RunTime: 1 hr 31 mins
Released By: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Official Website: http://touchstone.movies.go.com/wheninrome/
Opening Day: 25 March 2010
An ambitious young New Yorker (KRISTEN BELL), disillusioned with romance, takes a whirlwind trip to Rome where she defiantly plucks magic coins from a “foolish” fountain of love, inexplicably igniting the passion of an odd group of suitors: a sausage magnate (DANNY DEVITO), a street magician (JON HEDER), an adoring painter (WILL ARNETT) and a self-admiring model (DAX SHEPARD). But when a charming reporter (JOSH DUHAMEL) pursues her with equal zest, how will she know if his love is the real thing?
Tired of reading English subtitles and deciphering long scenes of characters gazing into the wilderness?
When In Rome is the perfect antithesis. It is everything you’ve ever looked down upon in favour of more elite fare, so you seem to belong to your posse of discerning film aficionados. It is unabashedly romantic, silly, absurd and even its metaphors spell out their meanings blatantly for you. In sum, it is a simple-minded and predictable date movie that never wrings out your brain juices and settles for over-the-top moments to tickle bones. From the start, you know Bell and Duhamel are going to get hitched by the end. It’s the process of getting there which makes watching the movie fun (and idiotic to a certain group).
For the ladies, there’s drool-worthy and slightly daft puppy dog hunk Josh Duhamel to swoon over. Due to his hotness, he can probably hold any movie, even with a skimpy plot, on his own broad shoulders. And that’s exactly the case with Rome if you totally don’t give a hoot about the over-the-top premise. But since Rome is made by Disney, you can pretty much expect him to stay clothed throughout the movie.
For the men, especially the ones who love a conversation with intelligent women, there’s Kristen Bell. Even though she’s light years behind Duhamel in terms of gorgeousness, she makes up for it with sassiness and spunk.
Despite their differences, they come together as a couple convincingly. Their onscreen chemistry is undoubtedly very winning. And much of Rome’s charm can be attributed to it.
The goofy secondary characters lend some big laughs. They include has-beens like Danny Devito, Don Johnson and the always ghoulish Anjelica Huston. They don’t contribute any notable form of acting but they seem to be enjoying the ride while letting their hair down. The other semi-famous faces are Jon Heder and Dax Shepard. They act as Bell’s grotesque suitors and are often the butt of her mean jokes. Most of the time, they are weird, annoying and crude. Luckily, they don’t go to extreme lengths to crack raunchy jokes.
For a movie that has “Rome” in its title, it didnít show a lot of Rome. In fact, only 2 pivotal scenes, which are weddings, take place in Rome. I was expecting Rome’s plentiful places of interest, especially Vatican City, to be featured prominently throughout the movie. Only a few landmarks appear in the movie, but fleetingly. Surprisingly, much of the action takes place in New York City.
When In Rome succeeds largely because it never takes itself seriously. And why should you too when it comes to watching movies?
(Wholesome entertainment every self-important critic will try to find fault with)
Review by Adrian Sim