BLU-RAY REVIEW: When in Rome
Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel's romantic comedy hits home video...
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Romantic comedies are a dime a dozen and, while not all of them are as good as When Harry Met Sally or as bad as Gigli, most of them follow a pretty predictable forumla that's been rehashed time and time again and delivers little in the way of originality or true romance, comdey, or surprise.
While entertaining and sometimes fun, When in Rome, the latest romantic comedy to hit home video strays little from this time-tested (and overused) formula. It delivers a number of funny moments and laughs, but fans of romantic comedies will find little new. In fact, most of the should-have-been-funny gags seem somewhat forced and, while the storyline is fun and had a lot of potential, the way in which it's delivered and portrayed isn't as funny as the idea behind it.
With a script by David Diamond and David Wiessman (Old Dogs) that seems to be forcing its characters to perform instead of encouraging them behave and directing by Mark Steven Johnson (Ghost Rider, Daredevil), who's strayed too from his (questionable) comic book film past, When in Rome gets easily lost in the mix of romantic comedies available on the retail and rental shelf.
Starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel as America's every woman and every man, the couple's somewhat hilarious arrival at romance forces its way through oddball circumstance and a number of romantic competitors, including funnymen Will Arnet, Jon Heder, Danny DeVito and Dax Shepard who each do a great job with the material they've been provided.
The hi-def film transfer is beautiful for those who do watch it. The colors are bright and there's little (if any) graininess to the picture. Likewise, the 5.1 Master Audio surround track delivers plenty of good sound, though - like most films of this nature - it features little need for side or rear speaker effects.
Somewhat light on any quality special features, the Blu-ray disc does include alternate opening and ending scenes which - once they're watched - viewer's will (hopefully) understand why they didn't go with these. 8 additional deleted scenes are also included as are a number of short featurettes, including "Crazy Casanovas: Mischief From the Set," a 12+ minutes of interviews; "Extended Pain with The Suitors," 2+ minutes of additional deleted scenes featuring the funnymen suitors; "Kerplunk!: Bloopers From Rome," a short blooper reel; a very short, 1 minute look into the real lives of the cast members in "What's the Craziest Thing You've Done For Love?;" and two music videos, including "Starstrukk" by 30H!3 and "Stupid Love Letter" by Friday Night Boys.
Overall, When in Rome, while predictable and forulaic, has some entertainment value. It's got some crude, funny humor from time to time and it has a number of laugh-out-loud moments that, while aren't really that original, aren't that old either. Of course, the film is no where near the best romantic comedy made, but it's no where near the worst made either. That said, for fans of either Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel or for those who enjoy a decent romantic comedy (no matter how good or bad), When in Rome is a fair watch. I can think of a number of worse ways to spend an evening...including rewatching Gigli and a number of other romantic comedies I've been forced to endure over the years...
When in Rome is rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and is available on Blu-ray hi-def home video wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley