Josh Duhamel and Kristen Bell in When In Rome

During a work-related trip which took my dad away from home for a few days, my mom and I had a fun outing, and as part of it, we went to see this during its theater run. I came out of the theater thinking it was “okay,” but by no means did I adore When in Rome. Now available to DVD, I think after a second viewing, it has grown on me.
Beth (Kristen Bell) is a hard-working young woman who consequently has become the youngest curator at her firm. All that is well and good save for her lack of luck when it comes to love. Her former boyfriend dumped her because she was too devoted to her work – something she explains away, saying when she meets someone she likes more than her work… then she’ll just know she’s found Mr. Right. Her boss, Celeste (Anjelica Huston) is expecting perfection from Beth on their next event. When her sister, Joan (Alexis Dziena) announces her engagement – to an Italian whom she met a mere two weeks ago but claims he’s “the one,” Beth has not choice but to leave her job for a 48 hour trip to Rome.

There she meets, Nick (Josh Duhamel). As the best man, he seems to be of the same mindset as Beth, and after a piece of advice from dad, she decides to be open to the possibility of love, which backfires on her. Spontaneously, she grabs four coins from the Fountain of Love in defiance of the goddess overlooking the fountain, and returns home to her quiet life. Unbelieving of some ancient myth, Beth is taken aback, when she is suddenly overwhelmed with not one… not two… but five gentlemen pursuing her!

I cannot really find too much to complain about in regards to this movie. It’s sweet… and romantic… and funny… and romantic (did I mention this!?)… and, well, you get the idea. It takes a few liberties from the usual way of romantic-comedies, which can either be a total flop or make it work. In this case, it really wasn’t one or the other, but somewhere in-between.

For the most part, When in Rome is endearing. And I like that about it. It has a kind of innocence all too often absent from this genre. Some of the responses can be really sappy, but that is really a part of its appeal. It is meant to be foolish, which it is – sometimes in abundance. The entire premise opens the door to some mild forms of magic, because of the “spell” the guys are said to be under. (It’s an idea that can seem a little creepy at times.) The guys whose coins Beth removes from the fountain are all a little… odd and yet I can appreciate writers making them thus since, obviously there is only one guy we root for Beth to end up with.

Josh Duhamel and Kristen Bell When in Rome Wedding

Bookending the film in Rome adds a great deal of spontaneous romance. Much of the movie was filmed on location, both in New York and Italy, which helps in the realistic and charming picture it wants to present. At the theater, I did come away liking the movie – it provided some laughs and the leading couple were adorable together. (Seriously, Josh and Kristen have some really good sparks, even provided this isn’t your top-notch romance; they were just too cute!).

Initial impressions didn't leave me love with this one (which surprised me) and now, a few viewings later, I do find it quirky in a delightful way, and somehow, enchanting.Now, I think I can say it has become one of my favorite feel-good flicks – if only because it's more wholesome than most. Sometimes, I crave something that is silly without intelligent thought requiring a lot of serious consideration. When in Rome meets – and surpasses, those requirements.

Share some of your favorite silly movies…

CONTENT: This is actually really clean for a PG13-rating.  One of the "suitors" likes to strip his shirt off to display his “beauty.” A painting of a nude Beth briefly appears on the side of a building. Nude sketches are evident when someone flips through a sketch book. After their first date, Beth and Nick make it to his apartment where they progress to making out. Joan and her husband are seen kissing and flirting in the nude; nothing graphic. There may be some other winking sexual references. A wedding finds a lot of people drunk, including Beth who takes an entire bottle outside and continues to drink. Other instances depict drinking.