The title of this film is not the only idiom you will find. When in Rome uses pretty much every common element from the romantic comedy vernacular with no apologies. But, honestly, that is what it needed to succeed. Romantic comedies have a hard time meeting every ones theatrical needs. We are all different and like certain things. Although this one is not stellar or mold breaking it has many pieces that make it a decent addition to the genre.
In this one, Beth (Kristen Bell) is in Rome for her sisters wedding when she decides to “remove” a few coins from the fountain of love. Little does she know but that in doing so she has cast a spell on those who tossed them in and has become the object of their overzealous affection. Nick (Josh Duhamel) is the best man at the wedding who has caught Beth’s eye. She must now try and get his attention while staving off her love struck pursuers.
This film starts off slow and is almost destroyed by its own clichés. But once it finds its footing it becomes this quirky story filled with hilarious characters and a plot that moves forward with sufficient agility. Each of Beth’s courters is so very different and played to comic heights by Jon Heder, Will Arnett and Dax Shepard. Danny DeVito even manages to keep up with these young bucks despite looking out of place and at times lost in his role. Bell needed to bring the same oomph that made Forgetting Sarah Marshall a success. Though this script has nowhere near the meat, Bell makes her character endearing and strong. You like her and Josh and want to see them find each other. That is vital in a film like this.
Hidden in the quirkiness of this fantasy movie there is a nice underlying message about what it means to be in love and what that should cause us to do for others. I like that everyone plays nice in this one and gone is the protagonist that overturns the love cart. When in Rome allows its story to play out simply and sure it has the “oh no I wonder what will happen in the end although we all know what will happen” moments the writers at least made an attempt at cleverness that ties up nicely.
When in Rome is rated PG-13 for some suggestive content. I appreciated the lengths they went to in order to make this as clean as possible. There is nothing crude or offensive to be found. The language is very mild and other than a few moments of suggestive behavior this is safe for the 13 and up film goers. One a mother and daughter could go see without any of those awkward moments. I give it 3.5 out of 5 art galleries. Not ground breaking. Totally geared for the lover of the genre. But a fun cast, doable script and lots of on screen chemistry make this a pleasant outing for the Valentines season.