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WHEN IN ROME ($40) is the romantic comedy equivalent of a hard candy mint; it provides modest enjoyment for a brief time… but leaves no lasting memory. Kristen Bell is certainly plucky and perky enough for the material, and Josh Duhamel is just fine as her romantic counterpart, but it’s too bad the script wasn’t funnier or more memorable. I will give the film some credit; the goofy premise certainly has some appeal, as does the really terrific roster of supporting players. WHEN IN ROME finds Kristen Bell in the role of Beth, a workaholic art curator at The Guggenheim, whose previous boyfriend dumped her because he felt her job was more important to her than him. Beth’s feelings of romantic inferiority worsen, when her younger sister Joan (Alexis Dziena) announces that she is getting married in Rome… to a man she has only known a few weeks. At the wedding Beth meets the Best Man, Nick (Josh Duhamel) with whom she feels a romantic spark that quickly fizzles.

After a bit too much champagne, Beth goes wading in a reputed "fountain of love" where she picks out a few coins to spare other romantic losers from the harsh realities of romance. However, the "fountain of love" proves truly magical and Beth soon finds herself back in New York and pursued by the men whose coins she now has in her possession. Said love struck suitors include a street magician named Lance (Jon Heder), a narcissistic male mode named Gale (Dax Shepard), an artist named Antonio (Will Arnett) and a successful sausage maker named Al (Danny DeVito). Also trying to win Beth’s heart is Nick, who may or may not be under the same spell as her other suitors. The cast of WHEN IN ROME also includes Anjelica Huston, Kate Micucci, Peggy Lipton, Luca Calvani, Keir O'Donnell, Bobby Moynihan, Kristen Schaal, Judith Malina, Lee Pace and uncredited Don Johnson.

Touchstone Home Entertainment has made WHEN IN ROME available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is rather pleasing, generally offering up a fairly crisp and detailed image. There is a slightly diffuse quality to some aspects of the cinematography, but for the most part fine detail is fairly strong. Some of the effects shots look a little too digital, but it is more of a quirk of the production and not a flaw in the presentation. Colors appear warm and are rendered at a nice level of saturation. Blacks are deep, whites are clean, plus the contrast and shadow detail are very good. The elements from which WHEN IN ROME have been transferred appear virtually pristine. A fine sheen of grain/noise is noticeable throughout.

WHEN IN ROME is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. No surprises here, this is a fairly standard romantic comedy mix, with most of the sound localized to front, with much of it falling to the center. The outlying channels engage occasionally for active sound effect placement and there is a decent stereo image across the front. Much of what falls into the rear channels are environmental sounds, in addition to general ambience and some musical fill. Thanks to the lossless encode, the musical component has been bolstered, while the sound effects are reasonably convincing. As for the bass channel, it adds some weight, bit then again, the material doesn’t require anything else. Dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. Featurettes and other programs include: Crazy Casanovas: Mischief From The Set (twelve minutes) and Extended Pain With The Suitors (three minutes). An Alternate Opening And Ending, Kerplunk!: Bloopers From Rome, plus Deleted Scenes, Bonus Trailers and Music Videos for the songs Starstrukk by 30H!3 Featuring Katy Perry and Stupid Love Letter by Friday Night Boys close out the extras.

WHEN IN ROME is a modestly pleasant romantic comedy. The Blu-ray presentation also proves modestly pleasant for anyone wanting to check the film out at home.


When In Rome [Blu-ray] (2010)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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