WHEN KRISTEN BELL goes to Rome for her little sister's wedding, she gets drunk at the reception, falls into a spiral of despair about her romantic life, and makes a grand gesture of defiance by stealing a handful of coins from a fountain. It's a magic fountain, of course (because... you know, Europe, or whatever), and they're magic coins, and the lonely men who threw them (Will Arnett, Danny DeVito, Dax Shepard, the guy who played Napoleon Dynamite) are subsequently cursed (cursed!) with a passion for Kristen Bell, which they express in truly wacky fashion. But Kristen Bell loves Josh Duhamel (more like Josh Duhandsomel, right ladies?), whom she met at the wedding, and he says he loves her too, but it's probably only because of the magic coin that he threw into the fountain, and not because, oh, I don't know, Kristen Bell is totally hot and wears lots of dresses that almost show her boobs.
Rome's entire narrative arc is revealed in a literal flash in the movie's first 20 minutes. And while the cast is full of funny, likeable people, please keep in mind that Will Arnett and Danny DeVito have bills to pay too, and don't make too much of their participation in here. (Let's do, though, hold Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez entirely accountable for their winking, unasked-for Napoleon Dynamite reunion scene.)
It's tempting to call When in Rome a Disney movie for grownups, but in fact, Disney's recent The Frog Princess displayed far more emotional maturity and class. (Director Mark Steven Johnson, it should be noted, most recently directed Ghost Rider and Daredevil.) On the plus side, most of the comedy in this movie is physical, so if nothing it else it offers the gratifying sensation of watching characters who deserve it hurt themselves.
My takeaway: Rome banks on the assumption that American women are defined by their insecurities. Therefore, a movie in which a man has to prove that he really loves someone—no, really, no, really really, even more than poker and hot Italian women—should go down like a crate of Costco cinnamon rolls with the self-hating females of America. Bummer of it is, it probably will.