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When In Rome

A movie directed by Mark Steven Johnson

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When In Rome - Doing as the Romans did is not always advisable

  • Feb 26, 2011
Pros: Josh Duhamel is cute and his buddy cracks me up

Cons: Dax Shepard is underused; Jon Heder is too extreme; most of it is too forced.

The Bottom Line: It's a romantic comedy worth seeing - but only if it's free. (luckily for me, it was)

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

I have DishNetwork and for their 30 year anniversary they're giving their subscribers a bunch of movie channels for free.  Awesome.  That's how I got to see When In Rome.  It was a movie that looked cute in the trailers, but not cute enough to merit an $8 viewing in the movie theater.  Or a $3.50 rental at Blockbuster.  I wasn't even motivated enough to see if it was in the Redbox for $1.  But I digress.

Beth is a curator at the Guggenheim museum in New York, and is in the middle of a huge benefit deal when her sister announces she's getting married.  Beth, who is more into her work than finding the right guy, heads out for a 48 hour visit to Italy to be in her sister's wedding.  That's where she meets Nick, a cute guy who seems as into her as she is into him.  But when she sees Nick kissing some other woman, once again her hopes are dashed.  Drunk on wine and frustrated, she swipes five coins from the reputed "fountain of love."  Not the best idea.  The five men that threw in the coins are all after Beth, determined - really determined - to win her love.  Even worse - Nick might be one of them.

The trailers for this movie made it look pretty funny.  The premise sounds promising too.  However, the execution of this film...not so much.  Frankly, I think five guys was too much.  I think it might have been better with just three or four.  That would leave them with more time for ridiculous scenes that would be laugh-worthy.  As it was, some of these guys were just too weird.  Jon Heder of Napoleon Dynamite fame was an over-the-top magician who bordered on creepy.  And of course, he had Efren Ramirez in tow whose name is what?  Pedro.  Really?  Did he really need to be there?  Is he Heder's half-brother or something and has to go everywhere Heder does?

Anyway, Will Arnett plays Antonio tortured Italian artist who is so fake it's just awkward.  Danny DeVito is more fun because, well, he's Danny DeVito and he's good at pretty much everything he does.  Dax Shepard has to be my favorite wacky guy out of the lot, though I think he was sadly underused.  I think he could have easily been the most fun if done right. Most of these guys could have been handled better in order to get more laughs.  Instead, only a few chuckles happened here and there, the rest feeling more awkward.

The saving grace of this movie character-wise was Nick, played by Josh Duhamel.  He's a regular guy here and totally cute.  A little clumsy, but he tries hard to get Beth to like him.  My favorite scene with him is actually about a second long, where he nearly walks into a pole.  Best near-pole-face-hit reaction ever.  The one guy that almost stole the show was Nick's buddy, Puck.  Some of his lines and the way he delivered them just cracked me up.

Beth, as a character, was cute, though she annoyed me greatly at times.  In the real world, I think Nick would have given up on her and told her she was just way too unstable for him, which is completely understandable.  She's lucky he was so persistent.  She never explains what happened or why men were chasing her - she just keeps assuming things and never explains, leaving poor Nick in the dark every time trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with this woman.  Another thing the movie could have done better in order to be better.

So the plot wasn't bad, but the characters needed a lot of work (except for Nick and Puck).  It was nowhere near as funny as I thought it was going to be, the funniest one involving eating dinner in the dark at one of those "hip" restaurants, and the sweetest moment when Nick sees Beth spinning around in the fountain early on in the movie (aww, he thinks she's pretty).  I saw this movie once, wasn't all that impressed.  When it aired again, I admit, I watched it, but only because Josh Duhamel is so darned cute. (and hey, it's only 90 minutes or so)

Actual rating: 2.5 stars.  If you want a romantic comedy, there are plenty of others to choose from (here - try my Top 10 Feel Good Romance Movies for better ideas)



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About the reviewer
Nicole ()
Ranked #71
Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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Release Date: 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 91 mins
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