“When in Rome” isn’t the greatest movie ever made. It’s certainly not a shining example of any of the things it aspires to be (romantic, a comedy, etc.). It proves to be fairly generic, but it’s passably funny. It’s more like porn for New York fetishists or art history majors, and that’s about it.
Kristen Bell is a Guggenheim Museum curator who seems to be cursed when it comes to love. She falls for Josh Duhamel’s sportswriter character on a trip to Rome, and upon stealing some coins from a famed fountain of love, she is relentlessly pursued by a motley crew of suitors.
Duhamel is likeable enough in the role, and Bell is alternately charming and grating. It’s easier to talk about the performances that are terrible, most notably those by Jon Heder, Kristen Schaal and Dax Shepard. They are creepy and odd, though they’ve never shown enough range to be classified as anything but. Will Arnett and Danny Devito are not as bad as the others, but it’s perplexing why two fairly gifted comedic actors would appear in this film.
“When in Rome” has its funny moments, though few, far-between and usually cheap, but it’s not the most offensive comedy ever made. It’s also a perfect example of the decline of the romantic comedy, a genre that has gone from “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Love Actually,” to films like “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” and “Failure to Launch.” “When in Rome” is not as offensively bad as any of Matthew McConaughey’s recent films, but it’s also not that good.
Rating: 1.5/4 stars
Starring: Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel
Directed By: Mark Steven Johnson
MPAA Rating: PG-13