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When in Rome (2010)

Released:  Friday, January 29, 2010  
Length:  91 minutes
Studio: Touchstone Pictures
Genre: Comedy
Rating: When in Rome is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

When in Rome Synopsis

When in Rome © Touchstone Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

An ambitious young New Yorker (Kristen Bell), disillusioned with romance, takes a whirlwind trip to Rome where she defiantly plucks magic coins from a "foolish" fountain of love, inexplicably igniting the passion of an odd group of suitors: a sausage magnate (Danny DeVito), a street magician (Jon Heder), an adoring painter (Will Arnett) and a self-admiring model (Dax Shepard). But when a charming reporter (Josh Duhamel) pursues her with equal zest, how will she know if his love is the real thing?

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When in Rome images are © Touchstone Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

When in Rome Blu-ray Review

When in Rome Blu-ray Review
When in Romeabandons the two-way and three-way romantic structures typical of romantic comedies in favor of a six-way; official couple Beth (Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Nick (Josh Duhamel, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, Transformers) plus four "suitors" form the points of the Beth-centered star.

There is so much talent here --- of the six, I always have high expectations of three --- that it is all the more unfortunate that such talent could not be put to better use.  The fundamentals of the romcom plot are perfectly serviceable, but the "suitors" seem each to be capable of only one thing, sometimes a funny thing, and one thing only.  Even Nick, proclaimed as normal among these weirdos, turns out to be much the same.  As for Beth, if you were somehow unable to deduce the underlying factors of her neuroses, she would be happy to simply explain them to you some time.

A growing sophistication on the part of the suitors late in the film saves them from absolute obscurity, and I no longer have to rewatch some of their excellent TV roles, to remind myself of how good they are.  Moreover, the writers cleverly brought an effective degree of tension to the scene so common at the end of lesser romcoms.   But you can count on the pratfalls, and the endless fount from which the film seems to draw them, to make When in Rome fall on its ass.

Video: An effectively jarring transition in the third act, as well as a lovely shot of Bell at a distance that may momentarily alter your perception of Beth, make for images deserving of a better film, though you may think you are watching Thomas Schlamme thanks to all the walk-and-talks.  The Blu-Ray transfer is of excellent quality.

Audio: No problems here, though I didn't test the music videos, such as is my habit.  The soundtrack was largely forgettable, much as the ending credits may disagree.

Special Features: Excellent new moments for the suitors, along with the single effective portrayal of the subject of the art exhibit around which much of the plot revolves, make me yearn for the film that could have cut out the pratfalls and included all of these deleted scenes, and convince me to bump this up a whole letter grade.  The resulting film may have tested miserably, but could not suffer otherwise for it.  A replacement opening and closing are perhaps excessively silly, but humorous enough.


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