Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DVD Munch: When in Rome

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? In an attempt to take part of a catch phrase and make it a suitable title for a film, “When in Rome”, the movie, becomes more a cliché than a decent film. On the surface, the film is fun, fresh and fast-paced but on a closer look there is not much more than that.

Beth (Kristen Bell) is an aspiring curator who is handling an important art benefit in a few days. When she gets word that her younger sister is getting married in Rome, she flies off to Italy for a few days for the wedding, but warned by her boss (Angelica Houston) that her job depends on this show. At the wedding she meets Nick (Josh Duhamel) but is soon disappointed when she assumes that he is not interested in her. That night, she taunts all believers of love when she steals five coins from La Fontana de Amore before heading home. The myth goes that if you take someone’s coin from the fountain, they will fall in love with you. On her return to New York, she is obsessively stalked by the men whose coins she took. With only a few days until her big show, she struggles to find the difference between a love spell and love, while trying to keep her job.

With a few lines of dialogue we find out that Beth is a workaholic and cannot date a man because of her job, also that she does not believe in love. When five strangers that unconditionally love her chase her around the city, both her and her closest friends begin to rethink what this means. There is the street painter, played by Will Arnett, the sausage manufacturer (Danny DeVito), the street magician (Jon Heder), the male model (Dax Shepard) and the sports columnist Nick, who used to be a star football player before he was struck by lightning. These characters provide the most entertainment throughout the film. They all only have small roles but they bring their comedic, lighthearted energy to their bit parts.

With such a star cast, it is a shame that none of the characters are given time to develop; every scene is split between Beth, a suitor and an awkward situation and there are not very many of these scenes. Even the relationship between Beth and Nick is given so little time that it becomes forced and unbelievable. We are to understand that the film only spans a few days and when she “falls in love” with Nick, it is as trite and overplayed as throwing a coin in a fountain—we don’t believe it either.

More unbelievable than Beth falling in love, is that anyone could fall in love with Beth. She is neurotic, insecure and often mean to those around her. Her courtship with Nick always leaves him chasing her through restaurants, rainstorms and even out of the chapel at their wedding. He has had one descent conversation with her and yet still seems to be chasing Beth with thoughts of love—making the other guys under the spell look saner then him.

But in they end we are to believe in true love in this fast paced environment. You can fall in love quickly and awkwardly, if you are open to it. “When in Rome” has many great moments that keep the film moving and the viewer guessing what will happen next; just don’t look too hard for much more, the fountain in this film has very shallow waters.

The DVD extras for “When in Rome” include deleted scenes, bloopers and music videos from some of the bands that have songs in the film. Take a look at both of the deleted scenes and bloopers, there are some very funny takes and ideas that did not make it into the film.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Problem.

Film and I haven’t been talking lately. I mean we dialogue occasionally but it never really turns into anything significant.

When we do make time for a conversation, it is always the same back and forth; I can’t give enough time and he wants so much more of it. Film presents me with three-hour long classics and makes me feel bad for skipping over them to a film with a shorter running time. So what if I am in the mood for THIS IS SPINAL TAP instead of another Kubrick film? It may not be broadening my film knowledge, but it is only 82 minutes long.

And then there is Television. I’m not cheating or anything, it is just that it is that time of year with basketball finals and World Cup soccer games. Film thinks I am spending too much time with TV but it only happens once a year. Promise. Besides, I am wholeheartedly dedicated to Film.

I think it’s because Film is one of those night-owl types and I simply don’t have time to get into a dialogue that late. I work a lot. Doesn’t he understand? I am dealing with the same withdrawals, but no one cares what I think.

I know that I miss Film. Too often I have hung my head guiltily with my lack of viewing. I get stomach pains for the experience of a movie theater, I just try and ignore it. Film is trying to help- taunting me with emails of upcoming movies and suggestions for my Netflix queue. I just sigh and think of the old days when I would watch three films in a row and have to make a second trip to the video store.

So perhaps I need to change. I know that I am up for the challenge, if Film will have me. More than ever, I am ready for late nights with Bergman, Carpenter and Wong Kar-Wai. We have to compromise-like in any good relationship. I will find a way to balance all of the things in my life to screen the new films and I will make fond visits to my favorites when I can.

Relationships are tough. Out of the blue they change so quickly, challenging even the most devoted couples. They demand a lot of care and attention and other times they move smoothly, almost effortlessly. So Film and I may of hit a bump in the road, but not to worry, this love isn’t going anywhere.