When In Rome
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +3

Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel, Will Arnett, Alexis Dziena, Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, Kate Micucci, Bobby Moynihan, with Danny DeVito and Anjelica Huston. Written by David Diamond & David Weissman. Directed by Mark Steven Johnson.

FILM SYNOPSIS: An ambitious young New Yorker (Kristen Bell), disillusioned with romance, takes a whirlwind trip to Rome, where she defiantly plucks magic coins from a fountain of love, inexplicably igniting the passion of those who threw them in: a sausage magnate (Danny DeVito), a street magician (Jon Heder), an adoring painter (Will Arnett) and a self-admiring model (Dax Shepard). But when a charming reporter (Josh Duhamel) pursues her with equal zest, how will she know if his love is the real thing?

PREVIEW REVIEW: I’m really torn on this one. Most of the characters outside the two leads are caricatures placed in the plotline as comic relief, sadly unfunny comic relief. Though the title suggests the setting will be in Italy, most of the action takes place on Manhattan streets and in LA soundstages, with the film’s characters dancing over the end titles not on a Rome piazza, but in front of a blue screen. There is one thing going for this film – it’s clean.

There are some laughs, the two leads are likeable, with Ms. Bell proving she can mug effectively as well as deliver a quip or two, and the story is a genuine romantic comedy. There’s no bed hopping, no objectionable language and the story is about taking a risk when it comes to love. But this is a January movie, a comedy without much humor and a romantic one without much bite. I think back to classics I’ve seen such as Woman of the Year and The Awful Truth where stars such as Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant were marvelously matched with filmmakers like George Stevens and Leo McCarey. Old examples, I know, but no matter our modern advances, whether CGI enhanced or digitally shot, a film and its theme still needs structure and wit. These are two fine examples that many a modern day film has either stolen from or should have. More recently, and to a lesser degree, New In Town and Dan In Real Life further exemplify good storytelling by those who know how to get laughs other than by mugging for the camera. When In Rome is not of the same quality.

It is, as I said, clean. It’s not horrible like 27 Dresses or All About Steve<. When In Rome is just a fairly pleasant time killer.

DVD Alternative: Let’s compromise. We won’t go all the way back to the days of black and white 1940s films. How about one of the funniest slapstick romantic comedies of the ‘70s? What’s Up Doc? . Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal star in this always-funny screwball comedy.

Along with 21 chapters that guide you safely through the maze of Hollywood mediocrity and the spiritually unrewarding, MOVIES: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE REALLY, REALLY BAD by Phil Boatwright offers countless references to films, plus spotlights on classics and soon to be classics. It’s a useful tool for parents and concerned moviegoers, one you’ll find yourself coming back to over and over.

“Thoughtful and thought-provoking, his work could very well become the standard for historical reference.” - Will Hall, Vice President for News Services, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and Executive Editor Baptist Press.

To purchase a signed copy, click on the home page’s promo.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Disney Studios.

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Other than the expression “Oh my God” a few times, I caught no objectionable terminology.
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: Other than seeing a newly married couple frolicking a bit, there are no sexual situations. The film is about finding love.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: It is implied that three different characters are gay, but these characters serve as lame humor and that’s all.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Occasional drinking; the female lead gets tipsy at a wedding.
Other: None
Running Time: 91 minutes
Intended Audience: Pre-teens and Up

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)