Blu-Ray Review: When in Rome

We all go through a little trouble in the love department every now and then in our lives. What if you always have trouble? Your about to meet a New Yorker who either doesn’t have time or hooks up with the wrong men. Until she lets luck play a little, in the fountain of love.

“When in Rome” is a fun romantic comedy directed by Mark Steven Johnson (Ghost Rider, Daredevil) who has stepped away from the comic genre to take a spin down a different path, love. Writing along the way is David Diamond and David Weissman (Old Dogs. Evolution), hitting the spot on some dating don’ts. The cast is pretty well put together with Kristen Bell (Couples Retreat, Forgeting Sarah Marshall) as Beth, the wayward lost love soul and Josh Duhamel (Transformers 1 & 2) as Nick, the once top football player in the country who was sidelined with an injury and now writes about sports, as the leads of this nonstop, who’s going to do what next, comedy that reminds me of a classic Italian comedia show. (What comedy shows use to be, on stage in the 1500’s.)

Beth (Bell) is the quintessential New Yorker, working for a museum that is counting on her to come thru for a big event. She is not that great when it comes to finding love, of any kind. So when her sister calls and tells her she needs to fly out to Rome, Italy. Why you ask? Because her sister is getting married to a man she has only been with a couple weeks. Reluctantly she goes and meets Nick (Duhamel) who is the best man. For once Beth seems truly interested and she feels he is too. Wait for it….yep, she sees him kissing another woman. Beth gets ripping drunk and splashes in the “Fonte D’Amore” (Fountain of Love) and decides to take coins from the fountain for all her loss of luck. At that moment four suitors instantly fall in love with her in accordance to a curse.

Johnson does a great job bringing out Bell and Duhamel as the star crossed lovers. Bell delivers a fun performance as the ‘always looking for the bad in everything’ woman that questions everything she does and everything her mate does. Duhamel is great as the ‘what do I do with this’ guy who has just found what he has been looking for. Joining them in the ‘fountain of love’ is Will Arnet (30 Rock, The Rocker) as the artist, Jon Heder (Blades of Glory, Napoleon Dynamite) as the magician, Dax Shepard (Old Dogs, Baby Mama) as the model, and Danny DeVito (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Be Cool) as Al the business owner. All four create the third character, Beth’s ideals of a man, artistic, mysterious, looks and successful. Arnet, Heder, Shepard and DeVito work great off one another in creating a symbiotic character that pops up whenever you least expect it, providing that uncanny hilarity that helps drive the film.

For this BluRay edition you are treated to a slew of additional fun filled antics, bloopers, and extras you would expect when you have such an energetic and comedic cast. An added bonus is the alternate opening and closing sequence. I found the alternate opening a little too heavy on the earlier mention of how unlucky Beth is. It was scripted well, just a little over the top. The alternate ending was just; well, creepy, funny in its intention but still creepy in the overall aspect of the storyline. The disc also includes deleted scenes that were understandably cut. One of my favorite extras is the ‘Art Show Exhibit’. In these three scenes Arnet, Heder, and Shepard interrupt the art exhibit by putting themselves in the art, showing their true selves as the artist, mysterious, and good looks characters they play respectfully.

When I first saw this film it was in the theater I went with an open mind as all critics should. You cannot think,” Here is another romantic comedy with just new players and different situations like any other romantic comedy”. That’s where some critics fail. “When in Rome” takes a bit of the old romantic comedies of the 40’s and 50’s and adds a little modern day twist with a splash of theater comedy. You never know what the ‘muses’ are going to do to win the heart of the fair Beth. It is for that reason I truly enjoyed the film. And I wasn’t even on a date. I went on my own accord. The film shows you that life is always going to be filled with the unexpected. Sometimes it will be true, sometimes it will be just because. And that’s it, just because with no real reason or answer. Life is challenging that way in being able to pick yourself up form all the ‘unlucky’ things that happen to you and see thru to the true happiness that life has to offer. So go get your significant other and pick up a copy and enjoy some quality time with each other.


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