"Lackluster Romantic Comedy"
What You Need To Know:
WHEN IN ROME has a charming cast. There are some funny moments as the group of suitors pursues Beth. The script suffers, however, from coincidences and “rules” of magic that change to suit the plot. There is very little negative content in WHEN IN ROME, compared to other similar romantic comedies. However, the concern is for the magic coin motif in the story and the fact that the magic fountain does indeed influence the lives of the characters. Thus, movieguide.org advises caution for all audiences.
(Pa, Ro, B, L, V, N, AA, M) Light pagan worldview of magic “wishes” coming true mixed with declaration that love is caring for the other’s good and a mild romantic element of looking for another person to give meaning to life, including priest character asks God for forgiveness for playing poker and also makes a wish himself; no obscenities and three profanities; slapstick violence of man hits pole, man hit by car, man walks into wall, man struck by lightning; no sexual content but some kissing; upper male nudity with partial buttocks exposure; drinking of wine and being drunk; no smoking or illegal drugs; and, magic wishes.
WHEN IN ROME is a lackluster romantic comedy about Beth, a workaholic young woman who takes five coins from a magical fountain of love and suddenly finds five suitors chasing after her. Beth is attracted to one of the men, Nick, but she assumes that his attention to her is from the magic coin, not from his true desires.
Having recently been dumped by long time boyfriend because she loved her work more than she loved him, Beth suddenly goes to Rome for her sister’s wedding. There, she meets Nick, a sports writer, and is attracted to him.
Beth sees Nick talk to another woman and assumes that he is not interested in her. Depressed, Beth begins to drink until she’s drunk. She then goes to the famous Love Fountain and “rescues” coins, hoping to “save” the people who tossed them in from a lifetime of heartache concerning love.
What Beth doesn’t realize is that by taking the coins, she has caused the five men who tossed them in to suddenly fall in love with her. Beth returns to NY and is pursued by these very different and eccentric men. The men are a middle aged rich sausage dealer who sends her sausage presents, an Italian artist who paints her nude on a mural in New York, a creepy street magician, a narcissistic male model, and Nick.
Through a series of adventures, Beth tries to break the magic spell of the coins. She finally learns that, if she returns the coins to their respective owners, the spell will be broken. She is finally able to do that and discovers that Nick really loves her. However, just as they are about to be married in Rome, she learns the coin she returned to Nick really wasn’t the coin. So, is he still under a spell?
WHEN IN ROME has a charming cast. The highlight is the group of male suitors played by Josh Duhamel, Danny Devito, Will Arnett, Jon Heder, and Dax Shepard. Kristin Bell as the confused Beth fairs well, but the movie never lets viewers truly get to know her.
The script suffers from many coincidences and “rules” of magic that change to suit the plot. The fact that Beth, who lives in New York, stands in Rome and chooses five coins of men who also live in New York and had thrown in the coins previously while they were in Rome is a glaring, unbelievable coincidence.
The exposition in WHEN IN ROME is clunky, and the dialogue is mostly expected and cliché ridden. The movie turns on viewers having empathy for Beth. Regrettably, the combination of uneven acting and a lackluster script prevents us from caring for her.
There are some funny moments, however, as the group of suitors pursue Beth. The standouts are Danny DeVito and Jon Heder.
There is very little negative content to contend with in WHEN IN ROME, especially compared to some other romantic comedies rated PG-13. The biggest concern, perhaps, is for the magic element of the spell and the fact that the magic fountain does indeed influence the lives of the characters.
Caution and discernment is required for this element.