When In Rome

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Cast: Kristen Bell (Beth), Josh Duhamel (Nick), Anjelica Huston (Celeste), Dax Shepard (Gale), Will Arnett (Antonio), Jon Heder (Lance), Danny DeVito, Alexis Dziena (Joan), Kate Micucci (Stacy), Bobby Moynihan (Puck), Lee Pace (Brady), Don Johnson (Beth’s dad)

Plot Summary: A career-driven woman who is unlucky in love steals some coins from the Fountain of Love while in Rome. As a result, a spell is cast on the owners of the coins, causing them to fall in love with her.

The Good

» Kristen Bell. I have been a fan of Bell since her work on Veronica Mars, a stunning show that was cancelled before the tiny blonde fireball was able to really be “discovered” by Hollywood. While this film will probably not be the star vehicle for Bell that her fans were hoping for, she still gives a solid performance. Her character was delightful and witty without being overly stereotypical for a romantic lead.

» Josh Duhamel. He has a great mix of the awkward and the charming, exactly what one expects from a romantic comedy. Plus, Duhamel and Bell had believable on-screen chemistry that made me want to keep watching even though the script was lacking.

» The supporting cast. I have to say that the entire cast gave wonderful performances that allowed the two leads to shine while providing a few chuckles along the way. It was great to see talent like Anjelica Huston and Danny DeVito together on screen.

» Napoleon and Pedro. The movie may be worth seeing just for them.

The Bad

» The script. It went beyond bad and into abysmal territory right off the bat. It’s unfortunate that the screenwriters (David Weissman and David Diamond) couldn’t come up with better jokes. The laughs leaned toward slapstick far too many times, and many scenes just felt forced.

» The “stalkers” (aka the guys who fall in love with Beth). While the actors themselves were enjoyable, the complete mess of characters paraded across the screen had me hoping that Bell’s character would pull a Veronica Mars and tase one of them. A few of them had me laughing, most had me cringing at the creep factor.

Overall Impression

In spite of the poor script and predictable plot, I found the movie enjoyable if only because of the cast. Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel were adorable and enchanting; I only wish they had better material to work with.