If it's crap ... We'll tell you
“When In Rome” begins at an upper crust party in New York, featuring cars with sticks protruding from them, hanging from the ceiling. Here, we meet our heroine, Beth (Kirsten Bell, “Veronica Mars”) Beth is a party planner/workaholic who states emphatically in the beginning that she has no time for love, and is married to her job.
At the party, Beth finds out that her ex-boyfriend is there. She learns this from a threesome of people we are to believe to be either employees or best friends; or perhaps both. These three I would compare only in action to the triplets from “Beauty and the Beast.” The three talk and move in one nearly fluid motion. This meeting culminates with Beth eating some green food (Broccoli, possibly) quickly, as she is a workaholic, and turning around to face her ex with green in her teeth. (Ho ho)
Her ex tells her he wants a relationship again, she gets excited, he drops the bomb that it's not her. Through a miss-communication, the party's DJ (Hello, Ghostface Killah) announces her engagement, which she immediately retracts to the most awkward moment ever: The turntable playing the music is reversed and stopped (for intended comedic affect, most likely), and Beth goes on a rant containing fragmented words and sentences. (Ho ho)
Upon returning home, we are introduced to her sister, (Alexis Dziena, “Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist”) who informs her that she is getting married to a fellow in Italy she has known for a mere two weeks. Beth goes to work the next day, informing her boss (Angelica Huston, “The Darjeeling Limited”) that she has to go to Italy for 48 hours, but assures her she will watch over the details of a party brainchild of Beth.
Beth goes to Rome and complains throughout the cab ride through Italy that she has no cell reception. Beth is a bridesmaid in her sister's wedding. Before the ceremony, the cathedral is quiet until the best man, who is late, comes in. This ends with his cell phone ringing, with “Sweet Cherry Pie” as a ringtone, blaring throughout the church. And what is Beth's response? “How does he get service?” (Ho ho)
At the reception we meet Beth's father (Hello, Don Johnson. You look well.) who we find out has a new wife. Beth has to break a ceramic vase, with the number of broken pieces representing the number of happy years wished upon the couple. Beth has the throwing power of an infant. She must've thrown it at least several dozen times, without any damage. (The vase sounds like metal whenever it hit anything.) The best man steps in and breaks it in one blow.
She is asked to make a toast and does it in English, as is the case with most Americans, because she speaks no Italian. The best man steps in again, translating as best he can with his limited Italian. They talk, and Beth realizes they are the same. He introduces himself as Nick Beamon (Josh Duhamel, “Transformers”), and they hit it off. He reveals he got hit by lighting. (This would explain a bit)
Later, an attractive woman starts kissing and leaning on Nick. Beth sees this and calls herself an idiot. (She's not wrong) She dips her feet into the fountain (The fountain of love), and subsequently “saves” five people from being lost to wanting love by taking their coins.
Back in New York, she gets a call from Nick. He has feelers out, she declines. The next morning she is stalked by one of the men (Will Arnett, “Arrested Development”), an Italian painter who chases after her, wanting to see her feet. He says that he will paint her face on every building in the city so she will understand his love. (This is going to end well, I'm sure) Soon after, she meets another guy, (Dax Shepard, “Idiocracy”) who is a model. He loves to look at himself in the mirror. (Ho ho) Up next is a street magician (Played by Napoleon Dynamite himself, Jon Heder), who is one hell of a showman.
Soon after, she gets a call from her sister, telling her that her antics in the fountain are news (?), and her new husband informs Beth that if you take someone's coin from the fountain, they will fall in love with you. Beth immediately dismisses that as ridiculous.
Lastly is Danny DeVito, who shows up with a package of sausages, proclaiming himself the Sausage King. (Oddly enough, he is not named Abe Froman) Nick reveals the hot woman from earlier to be someone he was never interested in, and Beth's fears of him are put at ease. What follows are Beth's attempts to avoid her suitors. We get an unfunny reunion of Napoleon and Pedro, but that's hardly worth noting. One funny bit is when Beth is jogging, and she comes across Dax Shepard's character, who is wearing the same outfit. The funniest part is where Beth is on a date with Nick in a restaurant where you eat in the dark, and all four suitors show up. Unfortunately, it doesn't last long.
Nick has volunteered a piece of artwork for Beth's upcoming event. While making out at his place, Beth realizes that Nick is the fifth guy who's coin (a poker chip, actually) she picked up at the fountain. Fearing that his feelings for her may not be true, Beth leaves. Soon after, Beth's sister calls to tell her that another way to break the spell is to return the coins to their rightful owners. The other way was to put the coins back in the fountain herself. Alas, she has no time to go back to Italy, as she is a workaholic.
Her friend/coworker subsequently steals the coins “for her own good.” Just after that, the four guys come over. Beth tells them she loves Nick. Strangely enough, all four agree to help her (?). She goes to give the coins back, but oh, dear, they are gone. She must get to the Guggenheim, but the city is experiencing blackouts, so she and the fellows take the smallest car in the world to the museum, as well as up the elevator.
We see Nick in a club, complete with a cameo from Shaq. (Thankfully, there is no allusion about trying to “Green Egg and Ham it”) He goes to the Guggenheim.
Meanwhile, Beth gets the coins back, and returns the coins to all the guys (including Nick), and the spells are broken. Nick tells Beth that he loves her, and they eventually get married in Italy.
Beth invites all the guys to the ceremony, wherein Jon Heder reveals that she had given Nick the wrong poker chip (as he had done a magic trick with it, and mixed them up). Beth goes to the ceremony feeling guilty. She gives Nick the chip and then runs out and goes into the fountain again. Nick follows her, and tells her he never threw any chip into the fountain. (As it turns out, the priest did) They kiss, and we get a happy ending.
Critiques: Why, oh why did the executives at Touchstone greenlight this? Especially give the fact that the screenwriters for this are the same assholes that wrote “Old Dogs.” And why? Why have a bunch of talented people, and not give them any funny material to work with? I mean, Jon Heder was funny as Napoleon Dynamite. Why couldn't the scene with him and Pedro contain at least the smallest wink to the audience like Heder wearing a “I Voted for Pedro” shirt? The only wink is that they're in the same scene.
For that matter, Will Arnett is just great as G.O.B. On “Arrested Development.” Why couldn't he have played the part of a magician? I'm sure if the writers had any common sense or just plain knowledge of a show as funny and brilliant as “Arrested Development,” they would've written the part especially for him, that way the audience might be fooled into thinking they posses a bit of prowess to remind us what comedy actually is.
I actually thought the character Shepard played was really funny. Who wouldn't think a self-absorbed male model wasn't funny? Especially when he's into himself so much that he spends a lot of time shirtless, staring at himself in the mirror. You'd think if you met someone like that, they'd have to keep an assistant on splooge control the way he looks like he's about to get off to himself. The problem was, no one could see that, and they constantly cut his scenes short. What? Did the director get it into his head that maybe Dax Shepard was being too funny? With a movie that delivers so few laughs, you would think they would utilize their strengths. Never thought I'd say that about this movie.
The best scene (and it really is the best) was the scene that takes place in the Eat-in-the-Dark restaurant. This is the one time the writers were actually creative, and I'm not scared to admit it. Beth on a date with Nick, and they can't see anything; and then out of nowhere all four of the other guys (wearing night vision goggles) all show up and they all start trying to seduce her, and fight amongst each other. Why couldn't this have gone on longer than it did? I for one, would have liked to see it.
My final words: This movie is crap. Pure and simple. The fact that this movie has gotten such horrible reviews should send a message to these filmmakers: Learn to do it better. As I've stated before, the talents weren't utilized. The jokes were terrible, with the exception of a few. The plot was so fragmented, you could cut yourself on it. In fact, that's what I think these filmmakers should do. Cut themselves on it. Mostly their hands. That way they can't type up or direct another one.
Why did the actors sign on for this? Were they given a better script when they signed on? Do actors even ask to read scripts before they accept? From the looks of this film, the answer to that question is no.
Could anything have been done to improve this film? God yes. They could've let the actors improvise. Judd Apatow is famous for doing that on his movies, and guess what? It works! It freaking works! I'm sure that within the span of minds of this cast, somebody would've been able to do or say something to make this movie a bit better. But we'll never know that, will we? Hell, they could've let certain scenes go on longer, and it might've made the end product a lot better. But when people discard the talent they have at hand, and have them spew the steaming piles of crap the screenwriters wrote, I think they deserve to have their movies lauded as the worst of the worst.