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Movie: When in Rome * Official Site In Theaters: Jan. 29, 2010
Runtime: 91 minutes Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive content 2andHalfGeckos Gecko Rating:

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When in Rome” is one of those movies that’s cute while you’re watching it, but that you’ll probably forget within a couple of days. But in a sea of apocalyptic and doomsday movies out right now, its light-hearted nature is a nice change of pace.

It stars Kristen Bell as Beth, a young, ambitious New Yorker who’s focused on her career and has never had much luck in the romance department. She’s all but given up on finding love.

When her sister tells her she’s getting married in Rome, Beth books a flight and figures she’ll be in and out in a couple of days, plenty of time to keep track of her latest work project — lining up artwork for a big show at the Guggenheim.

More after the jump…

when_in_rome_poster At the wedding, she meets Nick (Josh Duhamel), best friend of the groom. They hit it off, but when Beth sees him kissing another woman, she retreats to the “fountain of love” outside where the wedding is taking place, and proceeds to pick several coins out of the water.

What Beth doesn’t realize is that whenever you pick coins out of this particular fountain, whoever put them there will develop an immediate and insatiable attraction to you.

In this case, Beth chooses the coins of several wacky guys – Antonio (Will Arnett), an artist; Lance (Jon Heder), a street magician; and Gale (Dax Shepard), a male model. Or so he thinks. Danny DeVito is in there, as well. You’d think that all these funny guys pursuing Beth across the globe and into New York City would be hilarious, but they’re really only good for a few chuckles here and there.

Beth also chooses a poker chip out of the fountain, which she eventually comes to believe belongs to Nick. So the rest of the story moves along, as all of Beth’s suitors pursue her in crazy fashion, with her trying to figure out where she stands with Nick.

It’s all very cute. Bell and Duhamel are nice to look at, though they don’t share a ton of chemistry. All of the “wacky guys” are sorely misused. I would think the filmmakers could have capitalized on their funny-ness better than they did. As it is, they just sort of pursued Beth on the streets of NYC, and there was one mildly creepy scene where one of them gets into her apartment and lies in wait for her to come home.

Angelica Huston is also underused as Beth’s boss. She always seems to just play the stern characters these days, and you know there’s a lot more in there that could be used film-wise.

I’m not sure I’d recommend laying out the cash to see “When in Rome” in theaters, but once it comes to DVD and Blu-ray, you should check it out if you like romantic comedies and have nothing else to do that day.

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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