When In Rome

Touchstone Pictures

Review in a Hurry: This Kristen Bell-Josh Duhamel romcom was mounted with a millions-dollar budget, gorgeous locations in Rome and New York City, and a heavy-duty cast. Yet the filmmakers ended up with a limp, lazy waste of everybody's time. Why? Because no amount of showy set dressing can make a script this bad any good.

The Bigger Picture: Here's a one-of-a-kind character for you: She's driven and ambitious! Type A, but sweet! Oh, but she's been hurt before...men resent her work ethic and leave her lonely and confused. She's never going to find true love, ever!

Oh, wait...you've seen this character before? In other movies? Cliché, you say? Well, you are right. She's a moth-eaten rom-com cliché that's so played out even a tween could see right through it.

So why do writers David Diamond and David Weissman (Old Dogs...sigh) ply us with such an unoriginal heroine in When In Rome? Sadly, no answers can be found, even if you stay through the end credits (which feature the cast dancing en masse, as if mimicking the finale of Slumdog Millionaire would enhance the quality of the movie somehow).

It's not just Kristen Bell's sparkplug of a gal, Beth, who's been-there-done-that, it's everything about this movie. The forced misunderstandings, clumsy attempts at comedy, and late-third-act turnarounds are so absolutely rote and graceless that not even the charm of the poor actors consigned to this eye-roller can lift the movie out of its grave.

The only imaginative idea on which to hang this big mess is totally wasted. While at the Italian wedding of her sister (who, in the miscast person of Alexis Dziena, looks 12, by the way—12), Beth, seemingly blown off by groomsman Nick (Josh Duhamel), grabs a few coins from a nearby fountain. The men who tossed the coins suddenly fall under her spell and pursue her wildly. They are maniacs and creepy and, despite being played by talented gentlemen (like John Heder and Will Arnett), totally unfunny.

What could have been such a cute conceit falls flat under the weight of clunky writing and flat direction (and bad lighting, too—Italy never looked so generic). This romance isn't a celebration of love, it's a festival of mediocrity.

The 180—a Second Opinion: Bell and Duhamel have great chemistry and even some genuine moments. You want them to find love, just in another movie. And there are a handful of laugh-out-loud moments. One or two of them are unintentional...but still.


There's so much else to see, too—have a look in our Totally New Releases gallery!

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.