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TPF Shorts 4.20.2013........The Playing Field Blog making a comeback? Soon enough...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Boob Tube Quickies: When In Rome

A Torrid Kristen Bell Spring continues at The Playing Field as I checked out the comedy, When In Rome, starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. While at times marred with romantic comedy cliches and a plot that broaches the finer points of earth realm possibility and reason, this film was genuinely funny throughout.

I should probably catch you up on the "deets" before rambling on about Kristen's oh so realistic portrayal of a lonely Manhattan art curator power bottom. Beth (Bell) works for powerful designers or brokers or some other tightwad executives who are none too pleased about her having to suddenly travel to Rome for her little sister Joan's wedding to a guy named Umberto whom she met two weeks prior. She goes to said wedding, stumbling around like a ditz with no one to dance with, except equally uncoordinated yet written-to-be-handsome Nick (Duhamel).

This is about where shit just starts to get weird and you soon realize that you're embarking further down a movie using magic coins as the vehicle for comedic bits. Beth screws up again, gets drunk, and starts dancing in a fountain meant for people to toss coins into for finding true love. At this point, a very saturated Beth swears off love forever (gur'fren, you carrrr-RAZY!) and starts lifting coins out in hopes of saving these desperate souls. Since the coins are magic and the recipient will somehow fall in love with the thrower, Beth starts finding suitors all over when she returns home to New York.

These include a struggling Italian artist (Will Arnett), a creepy street magician (Jon Heder), an eccentric male model (Dax Shepard), and a sausage salesman (Danny DeVito). Bell's superior situational humor really sets the table for the rest of the guys here. The first quarter or so takes place in that initial Rome wedding scene, and Beth really lets loose, including one particular scene with a vase that invokes the long-winded, flailing gags on Family Guy.

After the introduction of the male cast, I was kind of expecting a slow letdown, but all four end up bringing their A game when it comes to outdoing the other in trying to win Beth's "warm, island cool" heart. Bell even has excellent chemistry with the male model, whom she despises the most, but is married to in real life. Will Arnett took to the chase, literally, hopping over picnickers and buggies to chase down a jogging Beth, who at this point is a little more than creeped out. Arnett was also probably the most well rounded of the four mishaps, growing emotionally, stepping up to the plate when called upon, and eventually having his There's Something About Mary ending. DeVito's character was so oddly written on paper that it made me feel that no other over fifty actor would do as the elder bachelor.
Albeit brief, Kristen Schaal (Bob's Burgers) had a great part as Ilona, the Blackout Dining waitress who livened up a first date scene between Beth and Nick. Alexis Dziena was some kind of pint-sized cute as newlywed Joan, and even though she looked nothing like Beth, brought another great smile on screen to keep guys interested. Even Kate Micucci and Bobby Moynihan exceeded expectations as the go to best friends throughout the film.

While the plot still remains silly as I sit here and reminisce, Bell put in a great performance and the high volume of quality actors really put this underdog film over the top. I'm really going to give it a 7/10 rating, but a certain lewd mural gag halfway through was so spectacular that I almost dropped my beer and self high-fived that 7 into an 8.


Snubbly Hubbard said...

I can say with utmost certainty that I might smash my DVD player into bits if I ever find " When in Rome" in there.

But seriously dude, Bell is still controlling the Panther-queue? Blegh. It's all about Dennings now, bre.

Bubbly Hubbard said...

I totally agree with Snubbly about Bell.