Hollywood Product: When in Rome
That's not amore
??GENRE: Smart, beautiful, career-driven woman can’t find happiness because no man will marry her ??THE PITCH: Workaholic Beth (Kristen Bell) travels to Rome for her younger sister’s (Alexis Dziena) whirlwind marriage, where she meets and falls for best man Nick (Josh Duhamel). The lovelorn Beth ends up barefoot and drunk in the coin-filled fountain of amore outside the church, cursing the monument. She pockets four of the coins believing she’s doing their owners a favor. Lightening strikes, though, and the coins’ tossers — a Chris Angel wannabe (John Heder, who’s looking more and more like Carrot Top), sausage CEO (Danny Devito), male model (Dax Shepard) and a struggling artist (Will Arnett) — fall in love with her instead. If it sounds convoluted and ridiculous, that’s because it is.??MONEY SHOTS: Beth spins around to confront her ex — with a giant piece of spinach in her teeth. Italian tradition holds the broken pieces of a smashed vase determine how many years of happiness the couple will share. After Beth’s initial attempt lands with a thud, she proceeds to hurl the vase across the reception hall, bang it against the podium, and abuse it with a mic stand, causing an old lady to declare, “She wishes them great tragedy!” Back in New York City, Nick takes Beth out to dinner at a dine-in-the-dark restaurant. The night-vision equipped server (“Flight of the Conchords’” hilariously invasive Kristen Schaal) leads Beth and Nick on a gropey walk to their table at the expense of their knees, toes and the other patrons’ table settings.??FLESH FACTOR: Bell’s sternum gets plenty of screen time thanks to some silk deep v-necks. Shepard, as male model Gale, bears all in a portfolio snapshot save a strategically placed shih tzu. ??BEST LINE: “There’s not an emotion on earth that can’t be expressed through sausage,” says Devito’s meat magnate.??WORST LINE: “This is real. I’m real,” Nick says to Beth in one of her many moments of doubt.??WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? “If you’re gonna be a bear, be a grizzly,” Beth’s dad repeatedly tells her whenever she tries to talk to him about love. ??PRODUCT PLACEMENT: Beth is a curator at the Guggenheim. She works out in Nike apparel with an iPod. Nick’s a sportswriter for the New York Daily News and attends an ESPN party where Shaq is in attendance.??VESPA COUNT: Surprisingly only one, considering the film’s title. And it’s not even a scooter! It’s a compact yellow clown car.??HEAVY-HANDED RELATIONSHIP METAPHORS: Beth runs — a lot: literally for exercise, but figuratively from love. Get it? The lights go out at the wedding reception; Beth and Nick dine in complete darkness; NYC experiences rolling blackouts on the biggest night of Beth’s career — what is it gonna take for her to see the light? Former football hero Nick was struck by lightening during the big game. Lightening strikes the fountain when Beth removes the coins. Nick nearly gets hit by lightening on the way to Beth’s big show, and at one point tells her, “Lightening does strike once in a while.” ??MP3-TO-BE: Nick arrives late and tieless to the wedding. As he rushes down the aisle, his phone goes off, blaring his ringtone “Cherry Pie” by Warrant.??HEY, WAIT A MINTUE: Wasn’t that Pedro (Efren Ramirez) from Napoleon Dynamite as Heder’s magician’s assistant???THE BOTTOM LINE: It’s really a shame the movie depends on such love mongering, because there are some genuinely smart and hilarious moments, including the reception and the dine-in-the-dark date scenes. Bell has some good comedic chops, but the wit surrounding her budding love with Nick is undermined by the bizarro courting rituals of her four suitors. That’s definitely not amore.