Monday, 1 June 2015

No.212 : When in Rome

When in Rome at the IMDb

I’d never heard of this 2010 rom-com until it appeared on Netflix, which was a surprise given its stellar cast and the fact that I’m a sucker for formulaic rubbish like this.

The flat faced Kristen Bell stars as Beth, a museum curator who has been unlucky in love. Her more impulsive sister, played by the naked one off ‘Broken Flowers’, plans to get married in Rome after a two week romance with an Italian. This is something of an issue as Beth has a big exhibition planned but after promising her bitch boss ( a show me the cheque Anjelica Huston) that things will go smoothly, she jets off.

The wedding is a great success with the stapes of the mistranslations, comedy vicar and cultural misunderstandings all present and correct. Beth, in a dress that writes cheques her chest can’t cash, meets the lovely Nick (Josh Duhamel - remember him from ‘Win a Date with Tad Hamilton’ - No.205? ) and it seems far too predictable that the two will hook up at the end. Better put some flimsy obstacles in the way then!

With love still being resisted a drunken Beth wanders into a handy fountain that promises love to anyone who leaves a coin there and pockets a fistful of change. When I do this it’s stealing but for Beth it’s to stop people being hurt by love. Tell that to the judge. She pulls out four coins and a poker chip and immediately through some lightning flashes the five depositors immediately fall in love with Kristen.

Fortunately four out of the five appear to be American tourists so it makes it a bit simpler when the action moves back to New York. Obviously there is a bit of vagueness about the exact owners of the coins so we don’t know what is real love and what is fountain induced love.

Once back to her life Beth discovers that she’s suddenly very popular. It may be her tight running gear, but soon she has five blokes all battling for her attention. The most annoying of these is GOB off ‘Arrested Development’ who is a cheesy Italian artist with a secret - he does have a decent line in murals though. She also has Napoleon Dynamite (still with Pablo!) as a street magician and Danny DeVito as a sausage magnet who looks like he’s eaten his whole stock. Filling to roster is Dax Shepard whom we know from ‘Employee of the Month’ and ‘Idiocracy’ as a self loving athlete whom she ends up marrying in real life - lovely.

The fifth coin is a poker chip which comes from Nick and although Beth has feelings for him she can’t act as it would be immoral to use the fountain’s magic to trap him - or could t be true love?

This was a very by the numbers rom-com but it was enjoyable with lots of attractive people clearly having a good time in Rome and New York. The plot was ridiculous but everyone just got on with it and didn’t try to have the lead sectioned as she babbled on about magic fountains.

The four guys pursuing Kristen clearly didn’t have a chance but it all worked out well with a bit of redemption doled out for each. It wasn’t laugh out loud funny but there were a couple of smirks, not least when people like Don Johnson showed up for a couple of scenes and no doubt a nice holiday in Rome.

The pace was kept to a good tempo and although everything was telegraphed from the start there were a couple of well managed obstacles put in love’s path to ensure the 90 minutes run time was padded out.

Of course this was never going to be a classic but as a throwaway piece of fluff it was a good effort and an enjoyable guilty pleasure.

Best Bit : Always a sucker for a bad translation subtitles gag.
‘W’ Score 14/23

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