Saturday, June 26, 2010

Neglecting my Netflix

When in Rome... jet back to New York ASAP, because weird stuff is about to go down...

I am a bad little renter. For nearly two months, I Love You Man was languishing in a pile somewhere near my DVD player without being watched. One night I finally watched it (and loved it, man), then about a week later got around to sending it back. I mean, I was paying for it all that time. Yeesh. Well, it had been so long since I rented the flick that in the meantime, When in Rome came out on DVD (I meant to see it in theaters. Whoopsies). And coincidentally was next on my queue. Imagine my squeal of delight when it was waiting for me in the mail on Monday. Yes, I squeal over critically-panned romantic comedies; it's my thing.

And really, When in Rome got a much worse rap than it deserved. Is it cheesy? Yes. Painfully predictable? Check. But we're talking "boys-meets-girl" and not a whole lot else. If you want a nourishing meal, don't stop at the chick-flick counter of fast food, if you know what I mean.

What I liked best about this film - besides the gorgeous, lovingly-shot scenes of Rome and New York (and never mind that a film titled When in Rome takes place almost entirely in NYC... and that the title itself is vastly overused) - was that it was reminiscent of a classic screwball comedy. While watching Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel ("Beth" and "Nick"), who made quite the pretty pair, I was reminded of the love-hate banter between Doris Day and Rock Hudson (although their interactions were a bit more explosive). And their films have been labeled cheesy, too. That said, the film does have room for improvement. Given the title, most of the plot should have transpired in Rome; it would have made for more excitement, better conflict (what if Beth couldn't make it back to NY in time for her all-important art gala?!) and all around better film. But alas, the writers did what they wanted, and apparently what they wanted was a plot in which Beth's crazy spellbound suitors follow her all the way from Italy to NYC, stalk her, and generally fill her daily work grind with wacky, Three Stooges slapstick. Hilarity ensues.

Actually, it really does. Some of the best parts of the film involve Beth's wackadoo love interests, and some very funny cameos from Efren Ramirez, aka Napoleon Dynamite's "Pedro" and Kristen Schaal, Flight of the Conchord's "Mel" (no spoilers here, but as a too-close-for-comfort waitress in a lights-out restaurant, she is a total scene stealer). And, of course, the fact that the supporting cast includes Danny DeVito, Jon Heder, Will Arnett and Dax Shepherd (Bell's real-life romantic lead) doesn't hurt.

So if you like your chick flick to be a snack, rather than a meal, and with a heaping side of ooey-gooey cheese... this might just be the movie for you. Keep in mind that there are more pratfalls and one-liners than declarations of love and devotion... in the end, as always, love conquers all. And if the whole thing honestly bores you, just look for some fantastic shots of the Guggenheim and Central Park!

... And maybe, just maybe, I'll remember to mail this back to Netflix.

What are you renting this summer?


Raven :) said...

I really don't watch that many movies. I need to though, 'cause I love 'em! :D

陳淳 said...


Lexie, Little Boat said...

awww! maybe i will rent this! i think kristen bell is adorable.

my best friend and i have neglected our netflix as well-- we have had the same dvds out for 6 weeks!