Wednesday, March 17, 2010

571 - When in Rome review

“Did you hate it?” asked my moviegoing partner after “When in Rome.” “Nah,” I said, “I can’t really hate films like that. They are what they are, which is to say not made for me.”

I’ve been reviewing movies online and in print for years now (Google my name if you don’t believe me) and one of the most common questions I get pertains to whether or not I review movies based on who they’re aimed towards. The answer is no; an honest reviewer can only tell you what he or she felt about it. So when I give “When in Rome” or a movie like it 1.5 stars out of 5, one can know that I’m not suggesting they avoid it; quite the contrary, I’d recommend it to some I know. If you like romantic comedies where the hard-working single woman finds true love with an impossibly handsome and available bachelor, then this is probably right up your alley.

Kristen Bell stars as Beth, a cute girl who also happens to be a dreadful, neurotic bore. She feels sad about her inability to bag a good man, which as pop culture has taught us is the only meaningful goal in the life of a contemporary American woman. Her profession: curator at the prestigious Guggenheim museum in New York City. Beth should be a fascinating woman filled with ideas about art and mobility, but no, she’s just a brainless, sad sack twit who breaks something every 15 minutes. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again now: if there’s anywhere in the world a catastrophically klutzy person should work, it’s a museum filled with priceless and fragile works of art.

Fergie’s husband (or Josh Duhamel if you want to be technical) stars as Nick, the object of Beth’s affection. He’s the world’s handsomest sports writer who goes nuts for Beth at his best friend’s wedding despite her humiliating behavior and a litany of more attractive women present. When Beth vandalizes a fountain outside the church, she is cursed when a variety of men (including Will Arnett, Danny Devito, Jon Heder, and the inexplicably famous Dax Shepard) fall under a magic spell that puts them all in love with her. They follow her all over the city making creepy spectacles of themselves, but at least are always polite enough to leave the frame once the plot needs to advance. Beth figures out the curse soon enough, to which she’s surprisingly underwhelmed. Ah, a curse, what an annoyance for a modern woman in a “Sex and the City” world.

Need I say more? I could have written this review off of the trailer, but that would be unethical, so I bit the bullet and went through the formality of actually watching it. You’ll like it, or you won’t. At least it has a moral for the young ladies in the audience: despite having no talent and lacking a single interesting thing to do or say, you can grow up to have a wonderful job and the world’s greatest man groveling at your feet.

1.5 out of 5

1 comment:

joanna said...

We all know that sooner or later people get lucky in love. However that's not what fascinated me, but the characters' self-irony, the ease and dignity with which they confront themselves with either tensed or sensitive times. I liked the movie a lot, it seems like a very light one and after you watch it, you sort of start believing that love actually happens.