Thu January 21, 2010
When in Rome
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time," "Cinema Classics," and "On the Marquee"
Kristen Bell is cute, and so is her romantic comedy, When in Rome. But then so is her co-star, Josh Duhamel, and even Don Johnson in his dotage is lookin' good. That's what romcoms do: They make us believe in the magic of love and the durability of beauty, both of which elude most of us eventually. This one beats bad last year's loser The Ugly Truth, but it is far from the sophistication of (500) Days of Summer.
Although Bell's Beth has been hurt in love all the time, she takes a chance on it at a wedding in Rome (where else?) with best man, Nick, played by Duhamel. It's all formula with a twist or two such as a magic spell cast by a fountain of love and Danny DeVito as a sausage maker in love. In the spirit of Devil Loves Prada, she's an upcoming museum curator with a loyal assistant Stacy (Kate Micucci), a daunting boss Celeste (Anjelica Huston), and a museum show that threatens to ruin her career if it fails. With the admixture of gambling for love, it's a dangerous world for her.
The supporting cast of magician, narcissistic model, and faux painter among others includes Jon Heder, Will Arnett, and Dax Shepard. They're lighthearted kooky, more amusing than most romcom casts. The slapstick of the usual romcom is more prevalent but just as enjoyable for my preview audience as ever.
By the way, the cinematography of Rome is unusually crisp and romantic, but for me, it's the food where the true romance of Rome is found. Not in this comedy.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, Cinema Classics, and On the Marquee, which can be heard streaming at http://publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/ppr/index.shtml and on demand at http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/arts.artsmain
Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com