Review: When in Rome

It didn’t take long to get a huge stink bomb of a movie this year in 010 and that movie is When in Rome. The movie is so poorly written, is almost devoid of humor, is absolutely absurd, and gets nothing out of a decent slate of talent that made the unfortunate decision of taking on a role in this piece of… well you get the point.
I was groaning and restless from the get go as we quickly jump into absurdity and cliché that inhabits every romantic comedy that feels like it has to follow the formula. Beth,Kristen Bell, a successful curator who has a big event coming up that could make or break her career, gets a drop in visit from her younger sister who has just met a guy and is getting married after two weeks of knowing him. Within seemingly a matter of days, Beth and all of her family and friends of the family are in Rome where an elaborate and expensive wedding is being held; how it was planned and so well attended in a mere matter of days is just dumbfounding. Logistics aside, Beth meets the handsome and charming Nick, Josh Duhamel, who sweeps her off her feet. Of course Beth is ready to go for it but fails into a drunken stupor after seeing Nick schmoozing another girl from afar. In this stupor she takes these coins from a sacred fountain of love which causes every owner of said coin to fall in love with her. Four strangers and apparently Nick end up stalking Beth vying for her love and attention and hilarity ensues.
Actually, it doesn’t, in fact the film made me audibly laugh on only a couple of occasions and that is mostly because of my love for a number of actors that wade through this attempt at humor and shine through in the slightest bit that it made me chuckle. Every joke is seen from a mile away, as is every plot twist, and you will be begging to leave the theater by the time it is all sad and done. In fact, when watching the film the negative burned out right before the third act and it took every once of strength and resolve in me to not get up and just leave. Mostly I stayed just to make sure something good didn’t come out of the work of some of the actors I enjoyed here; it didn’t and I can fairly report to you that there is no reason to ever see this film. Throughout the whole film my girlfriend constantly leaned over to me and said how horrible this film is and she thinks any romantic comedy is decent and watchable 95% of the time.
And the crazy thing is it wasn’t even like the actors were just awful or anything. A couple faces don’t really do a whole lot, Jon Heder and Dax Shepard’s characters are one note characters that get old quickly and neither brings much to the picture. Danny Devito shows a bit of heart and grins and bears it through his scenes and fairs as well as he can. Will Arnett at least seems knowingly aware of how awful the film is and just goes for broke with the silliness of his character. Josh Duhamel is charming and likeable as is Kristen Bell in the lead roles but are both unfortunately forced to labor through the awful writing. The director Mark Steven Johnson gets nothing out of his actors and any humor, like previously said, is on the skills of the actor. Johnson just completely missed the boat on every level here.
In the end, When in Rome is not worth seeing, ever. Sure there are a couple chuckles and the two leads are pretty and charming but this isn’t anywhere close to being enough to warrant putting yourself through the unequivocal mess of a film. If you pay to see this film you are a fool and will regret it within the first few minutes as you would have been better off throwing your money in a fountain with the hope that someone would take it out and cause some sort of spell to be cast over you that will erase any knowledge of you seeing this film.
When in Rome is an F-


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