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When In Rome

A Train Wreck

Rating: 1/2 stars out of 5 stars.

When In Rome is so utterly devoid of laughs, charm and romance itís honestly painful. Not even stars like Kristen Bell, Danny Devito, Angelica Huston or Arrested Developmentís Will Arnett can save this film from ruins. Itís almost surprising just how poor a movie can sometimes be.

Bell is Beth, the classic workaholic who doesnít believe in love due to past heartbreaks. However, her sister has become engaged to an Italian man just two weeks after meeting him and somehow plans an all out wedding in Rome in a matter of days. Of course, as an art curator, Beth has a giant show to put together and her boss Celeste (Angelica Huston) has made it clear her job is on the line. Promising sheíll obtain the important centerpiece, she flies off to Rome despite her misgivings about the marriage.

There she meets the best man, Nick (Josh Duhamel) and they immediately click, but when she decides to go for it she catches him kissing a girl. Again, feeling heartbroken, she starts to take coins out of the Fountain of Love and, unbeknownst to her, casts a spell on those who threw the coins. They all fall in love with her and somehow all reside in New York, where Beth lives. Even more ridiculously, they all just happen to find her on the streets and begin to stalk her.

Usually films of this predictable caliber have at least some redeeming quality, whether it is the acting, directing, writing or chemistry between the leads. Yet, this film is just completely shallow. It feels as if some major sublet was completely left on the cutting-room floor and weíre left with the pieces that barely fit together. Each scene painfully moves the story forward and always feels inorganic and forced. Characters are paper-thin and so is the plot. Things happen for no reason and the use of a green screen in many scenes looks unfinished.

Director Mark Steven Johnson is fresh off of train wreck Ghost Rider, but this is somehow much worse. As a student film, this wouldnít get a passing grade. Itís sad to see such great screen talent be part of such a mess. Itís best if we all just brush this misstep under the rug and forget about it.