‘When in Rome’: A Silly but Magical Romantic Comedy


During one of my dad’s work-related trips, my mom and I had a fun outing, and as part of it, we went to see this during its theater run. I came out of the theater thinking it was “okay,” but by no means did I adore When in Rome. Now available for home viewing, I think after a second watch, it does grow on me.

Josh Duhamel and Kristen Bell in When In Rome

When in Rome (2010) Film Review

Beth (Kristen Bell) is a hard-working young woman who consequently has become the youngest curator at her firm. All that is well and good save for her lack of luck when it comes to love. Her former boyfriend dumps her because she’s too devoted to her work. Her boss, Celeste (Anjelica Huston) expects perfection from Beth on their next event. When her sister, Joan (Alexis Dziena) announces her engagement – to an Italian whom she met a mere two weeks ago but claims he’s “the one,” Beth has not choice but to leave her job for a 48 hour trip to Rome.

There she meets, Nick (Josh Duhamel). As the best man, he seems to be of the same mindset as Beth, and after a piece of advice from dad, she decides to be open to the possibility of love, which backfires on her. Spontaneously, she grabs four coins from the
Fountain of Love in defiance of the goddess overlooking the fountain, and returns home to her quiet life. Disbelieving this ancient myth, Beth is surprised, when she is suddenly overwhelmed with not one, not two, but five gentlemen in pursuit of her!

…the only spell I’m under is yours. – When in Rome

I really cannot find too much to complain about in this movie. It’s sweet, romantic, funny and romantic (did I mention this!?)… and, well, you get the idea. It takes a few liberties from the usual way of romantic-comedies, which can either be a total flop or make it work. In this case, it really wasn’t one or the other, but somewhere in-between.

For the most part, When in Rome is endearing. And I like that about it. It has a kind of innocence all too often absent from this
genre. Some of the responses can be really sappy, but that is really a part of its appeal. It’s meant to be foolish, which it is, and sometimes in abundance. The entire premise does open the door to some mild forms of magic, and what it inspires can be a little creepy. The guys whose coins Beth removes from the fountain are all odd and yet I can appreciate why this is, and obviously there is only one guy we root for Beth to end up with.

‘When in Rome’: A Silly but Magical Romantic Comedy. Kristin Bell and Josh Duhamel co-star in this #romcom! #MovieArchives #Movies #Reviews #FunnyMovies #FeelGoodMovies Click To Tweet
Josh Duhamel and Kristen Bell When in Rome Wedding

Bookending the film in Rome adds a great deal of spontaneous romance. Much of the movie did film on location, both in New York and Italy, which helps set the mood. Beyond just the giggles, the leading couple is quite adorable together. (Seriously, Josh and Kristen have some really good sparks, even provided this isn’t your top-notch romance; they’re just too cute!).

In my initial impressions, honestly, I didn’t love this one (which did surprise me). A re-watch or two later, and I do find it quirky in a delightful way. With time, I do think I can now say it has become one of my favorite feel-good flicks. Sometimes, I crave something silly that doesn’t require I engage too much brain power. When in Rome meets – and surpasses, those requirements.

Content: This is actually really clean for a PG13-rating.  One of the “suitors” likes to strip his shirt off to display his “beauty.” A painting of a nude Beth briefly appears on the side of a building. Nude sketches are evident when someone flips through a sketch book. After their first date, Beth and Nick make it to his apartment where they progress to making out. We see Joan and her husband kissing and flirting in the nude; nothing graphic. There may be some other winking sexual references. A wedding finds a lot of people drunk, including Beth who takes an entire bottle outside and continues to drink. Other instances depict drinking.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I needed a second viewing for this as well….the first time, it was just too dumb ;-) But now, I really love it…..how can one not love Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel?!?! She is petite (like me) and he is so cute. LOL

    Sadly, I think they had to make it a PG-13 so people would go and see it. Seriously, it barely warranted the rating and is much cleaner than A LOT of the ones out there today!

  2. Ella – I know what you mean! I "liked" the movie after the 1st viewing but it has really grown on me since. It's just one of those titles that one can watch without needing to "think." Josh and Kristen are SO cute together. =)

    It is really disappointing how much filth Hollywood likes to put into movies nowadays, so whenever I find one that is clean, it's refreshing. This was one of those.

    Glad you stopped in, Ella – it seems like it's been a while. =)

    Renee – Rome always makes a HUGE difference to the setting of a movie – or any foreign location, really. It all adds to the "romance" of it all, right!? So great! Who doesn't dream of travelling overseas – Paris… England… Rome…

    Josh is not only good-looking, but he's a pretty good actor too; love the movies I've seen him in. =D

  3. I saw this movie a while ago and I thought essentially the same thing. I wonder how seriously the moviemakers took themselves and the screenplay, because it almost seems like they didn't intend to take it very seriously, and that we probably shouldn't either. In any case, it's very lighthearted and I probably made a few sarcastic comments about how sappy it was while I was watching it – because it really is very sappy at times.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog! I'm encouraged every time someone tells me they aren't Twilight fans either. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing to like, but I really think there are far, far better books and material to fill your mind with.

  4. I am always rolling my eyes or giggling at something sappy in the continuous rom-coms I see… but I love them, so I keep watching them. =) You are right, I don't think "When in Rome" is meant to be taken seriously. The ending is really sweet (minus the whole dancing bit) and the acting is decent. Some people don't like these movies because it "insults" their intelligence, but I say, enjoy it for what it is: lighthearted entertainment. =)

    Yeah, I am not a fan of "Twilight." I've read a lot about it, but just am not interested in reading it or seeing the films.

    Thank you for dropping by, Annie! Finding a comment on a post is such fun – and the best part of blogging. =D So, please visit again sometime.

  5. Love Josh in every role I've seen him in to date… now his wife, that is a different story. ;D

    I really enjoy "When in Rome" for its cute premise – and wholesomeness. All this talk makes me want to watch it again, so I should. =)

    So glad you stopped in, Meghan! It's been a while. =)

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