Reviews, Reports + Comments

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review of film: “WHEN IN ROME”

2010, 01-21:

Review of film:  WHEN IN ROME


Mark Steven Johnson.


David Diamond
David Weissman.


Kristen Bell
Josh Duhamel
Anjelica Huston
Will Arnett
Jon Heder
Dax Shepard
Alexis Dziena
Kate Micucci
Peggy Lipton
Luca Calvani
Keir O'Donnell
Bobby Moynihan
Kristen Schaal
Judith Malina

MPAA Rating:

PG-13 for some suggestive content.


“Job well done.”
Worst day ever…”
“That’s not even long enough for a credit check!”
“You’re not irreplaceable.”
“Your father’s current Tramp of the Month…”
“You’re due for another wife pretty soon.”
“You’re quite a determined little thing.”
“Try to do that for good luck.”
“You smell like livestock.”
“I’m just ‘running-into’ you in a PREMEDITATED manner…”
“You can not learn from my mistakes.”
Passion is in the risk.”

MY Rating:

6.5 of 10 stars (based on an advance screening of a 91-minute film).

Decent concept, WEAK execution

  I don’t mind “fluff” comedies, as long as they’re really FUNNY.  This film fits the “1st” part of that, but, to me, FAILS in the humor part of it, because of WEAK writing & what in my opinion was the MIS-CASTING of KRISTEN BELL in the lead: 

  She’s too “perfect” looking, & her acting comes across as “PLASTIC” & simply UNBELIEVABLE in her relationships with others (part of that being caused by the script)…  The initial setting is the fascinating Guggenheim Museum in New York, where Beth (KRISTEN BELL) is working as curator for an upcoming Gala exhibition…

  Her boss, Celeste (ANJELICA HUSTON), is (to no real surprise) a “tough”, hard-to-please taskmaster who has her “doubts” about Kristen’s ability (in part because Kristen’s been “unlucky in love” & is often “KLUTZY” in the way she handles things, including how she trusts her “ditzy” assistant Stacy, played by KATE MICUCCI)…

  Kristen’s younger sister Joan (ALEXIS DZIENA) suddenly announces that she’s decided to get married in Rome to a guy Umberto (LUCA CALVANI) whom she’s known for only like 2 weeks.  Although there’s lots to be done in preparing for the upcoming new exhibition, Kristen just “announces” that she’s going to Rome for a couple of days for the wedding...

  Before the wedding, Kristen talks to her divorced parents, especially her dad (seemingly DON JOHNSON, tho I don’t see him credited in the film on IMDB) 

  At the ceremony, she meets & starts to fall for the best man Nick (JOSH DUHAMEL), who arrives late (& is also often klutzy--  possibly the “main” thing they have in “Common”?)…  He helps her “translate” her congrats speech to the assembled group, & she starts to really like him…

  But, typically, she “misunderstands” something she sees Josh do, gets “plastered” (partly because of her “upset”), & goes wading into the “Fountain of LOVE” just outside the church…  Unknowingly, she picks up & takes home some COINS tossed into the Fountain, which --  according to (convenient) “tradition” – means that the people who threw the coins in will fall in love with her…

  She soon returns to NYC, where she’s pursued by a bunch of those suddenly-smitten coin-tosser suitors:  artist Antonio (WILL ARNETT);  magician Lance (JON HEDER);  self-absorbed “sexy” model Gale --  known for his ad as the “Gassey Guy” -- (DAX SHEPARD);  & the “Sausage King” manufacturer (DANNY DEVITO)…

  Also in that group is JOSH, a onetime sports star who was famous for having been hit by LIGHTNING (and who’s often seen with his buddies such as Puck, played by BOBBY MOYNIHAN)…  (What are the “odds” that the coins she “randomly” chooses from a fountain in ROME will be owned by AMERICANS in New York where she works?!… Ah, well…)

  There’s a somewhat funny scene with Josh & Kristen at the Blackout restaurant, where special “infrared”-type glasses make it so only the wait staff can see in the super DARK serving room (tho it could’ve been far more comical…  The guy to the left of me in the audience literally SLEPT & snored thru the entire film…)

  Josh and the “supporting” players work HARD & often effectively to do what they “can” with their roles as written… 

  But, because of Kristen’s sort of “detached” demeanor (& role-playing), I just didn’tBUY her relationship with Josh, which was meant to be the “crux” of the film (as seen in her RETURN to Rome & another meeting with the young Priest Father Dino {KEIR O'DONNELL} there… 

  It’s not a “bad” movie, but (as shown by scenes of a vase-breaking & the little dancing the cast does during the credits), it could’ve been so much BETTER  

When In (this) Rome, make sure you have a quick “RETURN” Flight of some kind!…

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