Laughs are few and far between in When in Rome

It’s never a good sign when a movie uses the tired old “he’s standing right behind me, isn’t he,” gag within its first five minutes. When that’s immediately followed by a “food stuck to the teeth” joke, you know you’re in for one seriously unfunny comedy, which is the case with When in Rome. In it, Beth (Kristen Bell) is a young assistant curator at a modern art museum. Her career is going well, but she’s unlucky in love because women who look like Kristen Bell always have a hard time finding dates. While at her younger sister’s wedding in Rome, she takes a handful of coins from a fountain of love. This causes the men who threw those coins into the fountain to fall madly in love with her. The rest of the movie is kind of like There’s Something About Mary with a magical plot device and minus the laughs. The guys are all ludicrous caricatures, of course, with John Heder’s Chris Angel impression being especially grating. Bell and Josh Duhamel are bland in the leads, and Mark Steven Johnson directs the film with all the flair of a bad sitcom. This is nothing but formulaic product for undiscriminating audiences. *

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