A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Now Showing: When in Rome

When in Rome is a ridiculous, slapstick rom com that has one thing in it's favour, it is joyfully quirky despite its conventional storyline. The story has a madcap twist on the 1954 classic, Three Coins in a Fountain, in which three American expatriates pining for romance put their fate into the hands of the famous Fontana de Trevi, each tossing a coin in the hope of finding the man of their dreams.
This most recent version sees successful curator, Beth (Kristen Bell) heading off to Rome to attend her younger's sister's wedding. At this wedding, Beth meets Nick (Josh Duhamel), a groomsman and the two hit it off straightaway. A misunderstanding occurs and Beth wanders away from the wedding party and into the Fontana di Amore. Beth, disappointed about her romantic prospects and wallowing in a drunken stupor wades into the fountain and steals 4 coins and a poker chip from the fountain in her attempt to "save" these deluded creatures from falling in love. Unbeknownst to her, the fountain really does have magical powers and the effect of stealing the coins leads 4 perhaps 5 men to pursue her with terrifying ardour all around New York. Much of the action doesn't actually take place in Rome. But Rome is the catalyst or more specifically, the Fountain of Love from which all of Beth's woes begin.
Much of the film focuses on Beth's indecision and dwadling. She does like Nick but she fears that his affections for her are not genuine but merely the result of a spell cast over her suitors. There's a wonderful sense of fun weaving all through it and all the more so because the people in it don't take it or themselves too seriously. And on a personal note, I've always wanted to visit the Guggenheim Museum and now at least I've been there vicariously.

The execution is balmy, no question about that. But Bell and Duhamel rise above the happy-ever-after formula and the slapstick contrivances with their exuberant performances. Well, if I hadn't been a fan of Josh Duhamel before seeing this movie, I am now. His good looks aside, he is a fine actor and his chemistry with Kristen Bell is palpable. Obviously this isn't going to set the world on fire or win any awards. Nonetheless, I've been astonished by the drubbing that the film has received from film critics and the the bad rating on IMDB.

Or it's just that underneath my cynical demeanour, I'm too easily pleased.

1 comment:

  1. I must admit I'm not really into Rom Com. They are just getting sillier and sillier. I guess I prefer drama as it's a little closer to real life. In saying that, I still will sit down with a friend and enjoy a rom com.


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