When in Rome sounds like a funny premise, if you don't think about it too hard. Beautiful, conflicted American blonde has far too many men wooing her! Poor girl for being beautiful, wanted, and wealthy enough to jet-set at the drop of a hat! What a sympathetic character! She travels to Rome to escape her romance *ahem* problems, and decides to take coins from the fountain of love??? Don't ask, it doesn't really make sense.
Okay, so maybe even the premise is weak, but the comedic performances are weaker. Relying heavily on comedians who have made a name in television, the cast simply fails to deliver anything resembling wit, real humor, or multi-dimensional characters. Kristen Bell, of Heroes, is a fan favorite, and is supplemented by names such as Danny Devito, Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, and Josh Duhamel.
The true star of this film is Italy itself. Shimmering marble, ancient ruins, and glorious art still make for a visually beautiful film. For those who have been to Rome and still dream sentimentally of men carved in stone, this might be a fun revisit for you.
Some of my favorite comments from Rotten Tomatoes reviews of When in Rome:
Jake Coyle: It's all exceptionally predictable and disappointingly laugh-free, especially since anything with Arnett -- one of the funniest around -- is typically worth the price of admission.
Carrie Rickey: When in Rome is a rom-bomb.
Frank Swietek: Even in the avalanche of terrible Hollywood romantic comedies, this one is particularly inane.
Stephen Whittey: The screechy Bell has the delicate charm of a scraped blackboard; the dully handsome Duhamel looks like a Land’s End catalog come to fitful life.
Janice Page: Do as the Romans do. Drive around it.
Some people had good things to say, too:
Kara Nesvig: All in all, Bell and Duhamel (gee, that rhymes!) are not tearing down any barriers, but it's clear that they're having fun and their chemistry is palpable. I wouldn't be opposed to seeing them team up again.
Pete Hammond: Entertaining, full of laughs and, as far as chick flicks go, is a sweet, romantic trip worth taking for audiences so inclined.
For my money, go rent 5 rom-com classics and get your hard earned wage's worth. Not worth the cost of a ticket.