Nothin’ good about “When in Rome”

Plot reaches new heights of implausibility

| Feb 15, 2010

Kirsten Bell stars in the lamentable When in Rome
“When in Rome” calls itself a romantic comedy, or “rom-com,” but is so bad that it deserves a new label of “abom-com,” for abominable comedy.

The only reason this movie will be mentioned again this year is if another movie is so bad that it is compared with this one.

Here is how bad it is. You know what a “Greek chorus” is, a group of actors in a drama who participate in or comment on the action?

This movie has what could be called an “idiot chorus,” and not only one, but two! Both the female lead, Kristen Bell, and the male lead, Josh Duhamel, have a group of three friends who just look goofy and act dumber than the leads.

Bell plays Beth, who has the unlikely job of being a curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, but the movie explains this away by saying that she is the youngest and least experienced curator at the museum.

Beth’s younger sister, Joan, is getting married in Rome, and while Beth is there, she overreacts to what she mistakenly thinks is a setback in a possible new relationship with the groom’s best man, Nick, played by Duhamel, and she takes five coins out of the Fountain of Love, saying, “Each one of you is a desperate wish for love that is never going to come true.”

Beth takes the coins back to New York with her, and then we learn about the legend that if you remove a coin from the Fountain of Love, the person who threw if in will fall in love with you.

Surprise! Surprise! All of the coin tossers were men, and they all just happen to be in New York, except for one, which is explained later.

So, now Beth finds herself being chased — stalked, actually — by a group of idiot suitors, including a manic painter, a self-absorbed model, an insecure street magician, and a sausage magnate played by Danny DeVito.

This movie is so bad that one of the idiot suitors has a secret that was kept during the publicity for the movie, but if that secret had been revealed and exploited during the publicity, it would have made the movie funnier and more interesting.

When in Rome is so lame that I can’t say enough bad about it.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”