Skip to content

Movie Review: When in Rome

January 29, 2010

When in Rome – A Touchstone Pictures Release

Release Date: January 29th, 2009

Rated PG language may offend

Running time: 85 minutes

Mark Steven Johnson (dir.)

David Diamond (writer)

David Weissman (novel)

Christopher Young (music)

Kristen Bell as Beth

Josh Duhamel as Nick

Anjelica Huston as Celeste

Will Arnett as Antonio

Jon Heder as Lance

Dax Shepard as Gale

(l to r) Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel in When in Rome

Photo: Myles Aronowitz SMPSP “© Touchstone Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.”

Our reviews below:


When in Rome Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

When Beth goes from New York to Rome for her little sisters wedding, she falls for a friend of the groom, Nick, who just happens to be a sports writer from New York. When she thinks she sees him kissing someone else, she drunkenly grabs 4 coins and a poker chip from the Fontana di Amore. Which, according to legend, causes the five guys who threw in the coins to automatically start stalking whoever pulled them out. Naturally, every coin that she pulled out belongs to a tourist from New York.

The movie stars Kirsten Bell and Josh Duhamel, two leads that will likely draw in huge revenues of ticket sales. The side characters are played by Will Arnett, Dax Shepard and Danny Devito. Jon Heder is also in the film as a street magician, and as an added touch, “Pedro” has a cameo as well. They all play as well as they can with the material they’re given, clearly having fun with the roles.

Most surprising about When in Rome is that it’s actually alright. It’s pure ridiculousness makes it by no means great, but surprisingly more interesting than some other films in the romantic-comedy genre. This isn’t a great rom-com, but I’ve definitely seen worse.

Though the “bouncing vase” may have been slightly amusing the first time I saw it, it’s been played to death so many times in the oft seen trailers, that it was already stale by the time I saw the movie. If you’ve seen the trailers enough times, than you’ll know when some of the lines are coming.

Though some of the slapstick is pretty stupid, and the story is predictable, When in Rome succeeds on the level of a lighthearted date-movie, that supplies for some mild entertainment. And as an added bonus, no wedding cakes fall victim to destruction.


When In Rome Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

When in Rome is a fun romantic comedy that comes out in perfect time for Valentine’s Day. What I really liked is that this is a genuinely nice, lighthearted, romantic comedy, that is neither cynical, nor rude.

When Beth (Kristen Bell), a workaholic, goes to Rome for little sister’s wedding, she feels that she is too busy to fall in love. There though, she meets the best man, Nick (Josh Duhamel), and starts to have feelings for him. Believing he already has a girlfriend though, she finds herself randomly picking up coins in the Fontana di Amore, that various men have thrown in to wish for love. Thinking nothing of taking a few coins, she returns to New York City, only to find that the owners of these coins have all now fallen madly in love with her, and won’t leave her alone.

Sure, the premise sounds as silly as the trailers make it look, but on a whole I found the movie, though silly, was put together well enough to work far better than I had expected. It has a very classic rom-com feel, that makes it a fun date movie. There is not really any overly sexual content either, so younger and older alike should have a fine time at this one. If you don’t go to see it in theatres for Valentine’s, this is definitely worth a rental once it’s out if you’re into fun, romance flicks.


When In Rome Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

When in Rome is a delightfully silly and funny movie. In the style of a Disney fairy tale, this is the story of a woman literally chased by love. Elizabeth, an art gallery curator, feels too busy for love. But when she attends her sister’s wedding in Rome, she falls for one of the groom’s friends, Nick. Nick likes her too, but when Elizabeth catches Nick kissing another woman, Elizabeth drowns her sorrows in champagne, while sitting by an old fountain. Now drunk, Elizabeth takes out four coins, and a poker chip out of the water. the next day, not only is Elizabeth pursued by Nick, but four eccentric men: a magician, a model, an artist, and a sausage salesman. This leads to several hilarious moments.

Some of the funniest scenes involve Jon Heder as the magician. Anyone who has seen Napoleon Dynamite will like seeing “Napoleon” and “Pedro” together again.

When in Rome is a sweet movie. Despite some occasional language, this movie has little in the way of objectional content, so it can be enjoyed by older children and seniors. When in Rome is a fun movie to bring a date, your family, or your grandmother to for Valentine’s Day.


When In Rome Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Have you ever wondered what happens to the coins you throw in a fountain? When in Rome is a light-hearted romantic comedy about the crazy things that can happen when someone removes five coins and their love wishes from the fountain of love in Rome.

Elizabeth (Kristen Bell) is a hard-working art curator who flies to Rome to attend her younger sister’s wedding. When Elizabeth meets the man who could be her perfect lovematch, sports writer, Nick (Josh Duhemal) and she thinks he is involved with someone else she goes to the fountain of love and removes five coins. The result is five quirky individuals all madly in love with the woman who removed their coins and wishes.

Back in New York, Elizabeth is pursued by five men, a magician, an artist, a male model, a sausage tycoon, and the man of her dreams, Nick. The situations that take place as she meets each of these men are full of slapstick, comic moments. Much of the comedy is silly, but also very sweet. What makes all of this work is the excellent cast. It was especially fun seeing Jon Heder of Napolean Dynamite fame as the love-sick magician and his sidekick, Juan (Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite) in a cameo appearance. Everyone of the characters is likeable in When in Rome.

The story gets sorted out with the help of a little yellow Vespa car in a manic drive through New York streets to the Guggenheim art museum. The ending is satisfying and sweet. True love wins out and the movie wraps up in Rome.

Overall, this is a silly but sweet romantic-comedy that young and old can enjoy together. When in Rome is good clean fun. Check it out before Valentine’s Day. If not, it will play out well on DVD.


When in Rome Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

When In Rome is a light romantic comedy from Disney Touchstone. Petite workaholic Guggenheim curator Beth (Kristen Bell) attends her little sister’s wedding in Rome to a former Italian exchange student. Attracted to his best man Nick (Josh Duhamel), a sports journalist also based in New York, Beth is disillusioned after seeing Nick with another woman and she grabs five coins out of the Fontana di Amore, which according to legend gets the five guys who had tossed in the coins literally chasing after her. These include a sausage king (Danny DeVito), an obnoxious narcissistic model (Dax Shepard), a painter (Will Arnett, channelling Roberto Benigni), and a street magician (Jon Heder, aided in a welcome unbilled cameo by Efren Ramirez, better known as Pedro). Back home, Beth and Nick get together after he explains that the woman in Rome was just an affectionate family member. However, their romance is threatened when Beth realizes that the fifth token from the fountain was one of Nick’s poker chips. To break the spells cast on her suitors, Beth has to return the coins to each of them, which leads to some interesting twists before the inevitable happy ending.

Directed by Mark Steven Johnson, When In Rome has just enough going for it to justify a rental. However, based mainly in New York, it does nothing for the title city except perpetuate stereotypes bad even by Disney Standards. After some weak opening scenes, unfortunately overexposed in the trailers, it does get a lot better by the end, and at an hour and a half is just about the right length.


Kristen Bell in When in Rome

“Photo: Philippe Antonello” “© Touchstone Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.”


Consensus: When in Rome is a surprisingly enjoyable romantic-comedy, with enough silliness to make it entertaining for audience members of all ages. *** (Out of 4)


(l to r) Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, Will Arnett, Danny DeVito in When in Rome

Photo: Kerry Hayes SMPSP “© Touchstone Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.”

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: