When In Rome is a romantic comedy that tries to be a lot more than it really is.
On paper it sounds alright – having the comedic prowess of Arrested Development's Will Arnett and My Name Is Earl's Dax Shephard as well as the experience of Danny DeVito and Angelica Houston. But ultimately the film strives too hard and remains just a pleasant romantic comedy, good for a night of no-brainer light entertainment.
Kristen Bell is at the helm of this feature by the producers of The Proposal, and she does a good job being seen and heard among the clamour of men about her throughout the flick. She plays Beth, a stereotypical successful New York careerwoman who has given up on love. She flies out to Rome to her sister’s wedding where she meets the dreamy Transformers star Josh Duhamel who manages to change her mind on love with a few smouldering glances. But of course, it doesn’t work out, proving her anti-love mantra right.
After a few too many shandies, Beth is in the fountain outside of the church stealing coins thrown in by those presumably wishing for love. The five guys who threw in the coins she steals promptly become obsessed with her.
Enter the laugh-out-loud funny. Will Arnett as a very tanned Italian painter is hilarious. Dax Shephard as an also very tanned self-obsessed model steals the film with his abs. Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder as a less tanned magician does creepy magic-stalker-guy better than David Copperfield. And Danny DeVito as the sausage king of USA brings a bit of sweetness and mature insight. Watching the men pursue Beth around town while she juggles work and her budding romance with Duhamel’s character is highly entertaining. Bell is able to show off her talent for slapstick comedy in a variety of situations as she tries to escape the men who are slowly bringing her tightly-controlled life apart at the seams.
Despite a few great gags, this is a formulaic romantic comedy. Couple likes each other, confusion puts them on different paths, they have obstacles to overcome to be together, blah, blah. But isn’t every rom-com? This doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s no All About Steve either. Enjoy it when wishing for a no-brainer, feel-good comedy to watch with the girls.