Dave White
When In Rome Review

Dave's Rating:

0.5

Ruins

Who's In It: Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel, Anjelica Huston, Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, Danny DeVito, Alexis Dziena, Peggy Lipton, Don Johnson, Keir O'Donnell, Bobby Moynihan, Kristen Schaal, Lee Pace

The Basics: I had this bad dream where Kristen Bell got all her personality erased and Anjelica Huston hooked up with Danny DeVito and the Napoleon Dynamite guys ran around breaking into apartments and a guy from Saturday Night Live obsessed over beer and yelled "Dude!" a lot. I dreamed that The Guggenheim hosted exhibits of art you could buy in the poster section of Pier 1 Imports and that people were hit by cars and struck by lightning. I dreamed that there were no adults left who knew how to tell the difference between aburdism and stupidity and fantasy and laziness and reality and comedy and that Ghostface Killah wasn't really willing to be in just any old movie for 15 seconds of wasted cameo. And then I found out it wasn't a dream.

What's The Deal: I had the big idea while watching this movie that since it's a very tame, childproofed, supernatural fantasy vision of adult romance, and about as PG as it gets, that if I had been a girl and also nine years old that I might have enjoyed something that was happening on screen, like maybe I'd be charmed by the somewhat affable Josh Duhamel if nothing else. That was my entire prism for viewing. I kept telling myself, "Well, sure, this sucks and isn't funny and bears no resemblance to the life of any person who's ever drawn breath, and all of the characters are bland cartoons, but if I were a nine-year-old girl maybe I'd be into the love-spell plotline and accept it as a fairy tale/Wizard of Oz-like diversion." But then the movie ended and I turned to Jen (Movies.com's new critic. Go check her out) and told her my theory and she said, "No." She just shut me down like that. And now I don't know what to think anymore.

Best Parts: The film boldly ignores the actual art world, choosing to situate itself in a place where fake art created for a Disney-produced romantic comedy--in this case, a black-and-white photograph of Josh Duhamel's head superimposed over a thunderstorm--draws gasps of pleasure from everyone who looks at it. I also liked the all-cast dance number over the closing credits (minus Huston, who I guess just put her foot down and refused). If everyone in this had simply randomly broken into goofy breakdancing moves and done The Robot in the middle of line readings, it would have been no less grounded in reality and much more entertaining.

Worst Part: I was a little annoyed that, since they used the real Guggenheim for the shoot and utilized its signature circular walkway for a pivotal poker chip-rolling sequence, that they neglected to drive the movie's tiny Italian car packed with people--it's on the poster, just underneath Kristen Bell eating her own finger--up that ramp. Missed opportunity for comedy gold.

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