Even with all the adoration in the world for Kristen Bell, which we have and will always have thanks to Veronica Mars, When in Rome cannot survive the fact that it is a terrible film with no real laughs and no sense to its plot. Just look at the poster, it’s awful.
Bell’s character takes some coins out of a fountain and so some guys fall in love with her briefly hampering her burgeoning romance with an overly handsome Josh Duhamel. One of the biggest problem the film faces is with the sheer number of crazy men that have fallen in love with Bell and are therefore chasing after her. With so many characters (okay four) none really get a chance to do much.
When you have Danny DeVito and Will Arnett in your film you should really give them more screen time and better lines would help too. If you aren’t convinced that either are comedians worth your time just watch some Arrested Development or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for some proof. Both were reduced to minor bit parts and Arnett forced to put on a “funny” accent. Ugh. As the remaining two love-struck fools Jon Heder and Dax Shepard made Arnett and DeVitto look even better, as both hammed it up far too much.
With all these things wrong with it When in Rome is surprisingly watchable, not necessarily good but certainly watchable, and that is all down to Kristen Bell. Bell takes what little she has to work with and throws herself into it with a delightful perky charm that belongs to someone who deserves a much better agent. Brief appearances from Lee Pace and Kristen Schaal also help keep the film from being a complete disaster.
When in Rome is bad. Kristen Bell is good. It’s a bit confusing.