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When In Rome review

by Andy Gibbons

What is it?

Director Mark Steven Johnson’s first foray back behind the camera since 2007‘s truly risible Ghost Rider.

Beth (Kristen Bell) is a high-flying, career-orientated New York City gal whose previously traumatic love life has left her a bit down on romance. But when her sister announces a whirlwind wedding in Rome, Beth crosses the Atlantic to The Eternal City to do her sisterly duties. At said wedding she meets charming sports reporter Nick (Josh Duhamel) and decides to give love a go only to find him smooching an amorous local. One drunken escapade later, which sees Beth ‘liberate’ coins from the fountain of love, an ancient curse leaves her the object of some unwanted attention from the men whose cash she swiped. Meanwhile Nick is keen to prove he’s worth a second chance.


What’s good?

Performance wise, Danny De Vito stands out as one of Beth’s love struck suitors – he manages to act everyone off the screen despite a limited role – and Kristen Schaal is pretty fun as the waitress at a too-cool-for-school New York restaurant. And Rome always looks stunning on screen although most of what we see is limited between Beth’s arrival at the airport and the church hosting her sister’s wedding.

What’s bad?

The whole thing just feels a bit flat. With Beth’s unlikely Romeos (a motley crew consisting of De Vito, Jon Heder, Will Arnett and Dax Shepard – such a lucky girl!) getting a bit too much screen time, it’s hard for her relationship with Nick to fully blossom and there are times when she’s not an especially sympathetic character which makes it hard to care. Bell and Duhamel are fine but they’re no Bogart and Bacall and when any film tags a montage of the cast dancing over the final credits, then you know you’re in trouble.

So basically…..

This is the kind of movie that would have starred Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock if it had been made six of seven years ago so if that’s the kind of film you would have gone to see, then When In Rome should suit you (and anyone else keen to escape the World Cup) just fine. But for anyone else, it’s just another pretty forgettable piece of romcom fluff.


When In Rome is in UK cinemas from June 25th.


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