New Yorker Beth is unlucky in love, but a visit to the fountain of love in Rome changes her luck forever. Be careful what you wish for.
This Euro-American vacation comedy sees workaholic Art Curator Beth (Kristen Bell) take time out from her hectic career life to visit Rome for her sister's imrpomptu wedding. Having just had an awkward encounter with an ex in New York (she mistankenly thought he wanted to get back with her, when really he just wanted to tell her he is now engaged to someone else), Beth is pleasantly surprised to find that men in Rome show a little more promise; the best man at her sister's wedding is both charming and gorgeous (Josh Duhamel) - a perfect distraction for her otherwise dire love life. Sick of the realities of romance, a drunken stumble in the fountain of love sees Beth going against tradition and removing 5 coins from the fountain, to save their owners from inevitable heartache.
After the wedding, back in New York, Beth starts to notice unusual behaviour towards her from strange men – including confessions of undying love, grand gestures and one even throws himself infront of a horse drawn carriage! She eventually comes to the conclusion that her taking of the coins from the fountain must have cast a magic love spell. This is where the premise becomes a little silly. Now, I'm all down for a bit of magic and suspension of belief, but I think it was more the fact that it was acted so straightly that creased me up!
Cringeworthiness aside, the performances all round were pretty good – Kristen Bell is witty and charming, and Josh Duhamel narrowly avoids coming off as cocky, yet all the while remains incredibly likeable. It's great to see a few other familiar faces in the movie including Danny DeVito and Will Arnett (Arrested Development, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret) as just two of Bell's lovestruck stalkers.
The film bears similarities to the 1954 film Three Coins and a Fountain, and the fountain of love used in the movie is heavily modelled on the Trevi fountain (though not considered to be one and the same). This type of simple romantic comedy so often falls flat on its face – I'm looking at you, Leap Year! - yet When In Rome pleasantly surprised me with the natural chemistry and charm displayed by the two leads.
Despite stumbling across this movie by accident, and having never heard of it at the time of it's release, I really hope that the poor marketing of this movie doesn't affect it's reception, because it is a great expample of what a good rom-com should be; carefree, funny and good fun!