Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Movie Review

When in Rome also known as “La fuente del amor”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive content.

Reviewed by: Laura Busch
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Genre:
Romance, Comedy, Drama, Remake
Length:
1 hr. 31 min.
Year of Release:
2010
USA Release:
January 29, 2010 (wide—2,200+ theaters)
DVD: June 15, 2010
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

Marriage in the Bible

Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
Many people are convinced that traditional marriages don’t work and that this practice should be abandoned. What does the Bible say about marriage?

Stealing in the Bible

Magic

Enchantments

Featuring: Kristen Bell (Beth)
Josh Duhamel (Nick)
Anjelica Huston (Celeste)
Will Arnett (Antonio)
Jon Heder (Lance)
Dax Shepard (Gale)
Alexis Dziena (Joan)

more »
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Producer: Touchstone Pictures, Krasnoff Foster Productions, Rikki Lea Bestall, Gary Foster, Joseph E. Iberti, Mark Steven Johnson, Andrew Panay, Enzo Sisti, Ezra Swerdlow, Kim H. Winther
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“All is fair in love and Rome.”

Beth (Kristen Bell), an ambitious young art curator, has become disillusioned with love and relationships. When a frustrated Beth heads to Rome to attend her younger sister, Joan’s (Alexis Dziena) wedding, she steals five coins from an old fountain, setting into motion a love spell, which causes those who threw the coins into the fountain to fall in love with her. Beth is aggressively pursued by a determined band of suitors, including Nick (Josh Duhamel), a handsome and charming sports writer. As Beth begins to fall for Nick, she is determined to break the fountain’s enchantment, so she can discover if Nick’s love for her is real or simply the workings of the spell’s magic.

Positive Elements

Beth’s desire for true love and a committed relationship is refreshing, and her unwillingness to settle for a substitute is commendable. Beth refuses to enter into a married relationship with Nick until she knows that his love for her is real, and not just the enchantment of the fountain’s spell. Beth’s band of persistent suitors also discovers that true love is about selflessness, and is expressed by one of her pursuers with the following statement, “Love is about putting someone else’s needs above your own.”

As the film progresses, the workaholic Beth learns to put her past heartaches behind her and open herself up to the possibility of true love, as she puts her relationship first.

Unfortunately, these moral lessons about love lack depth and are mere tokens in this clichéd and ditsy chick flick. The film’s producers missed the opportunity to explore the concept of true love in a more meaningful way.

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Objectionable Content

Even though “When in Rome” is one of the cleaner romantic comedies, by Hollywood’s standards, it is not without its problems. Nick, who is the best man at Joan’s wedding, mistranslates Beth’s toast and tells the Italian guests that Beth looks forward to “sharing” the groom with her sister. Beth drowns her frustrations with love in a bottle of champagne, as she fishes the five coins out of the fountain in a drunken state. Beth also wears a very low-cut, cleavage-baring bridesmaid’s dress.

One of Beth’s pursuers, Antonio (Will Arnett), an artist, draws several nude caricatures of her, which are seen in his sketchbook. He also paints a large nude mural of her on the side of a building (her chest and lower half are strategically obscured). Another one of Beth’s suitors, a self-worshipping male model (Dax Shepard), presents Beth with his portfolio and attempts to attract her with shirtless photographs of himself. Later, he rips his shirt off and flexes his muscles in a last ditch effort to gain Beth’s attention.

Joan and her husband are shown almost completely undressed cooking in the kitchen together, while on their honeymoon (Joan is only covered by an apron, while her husband is presumably naked, but his lower body is obscured by the counter). Joan and her husband kiss passionately as they sink behind the kitchen counter. Beth and Nick exchange several kisses throughout the movie.

The priest portrayed in the film enjoys gambling and playing poker and is, overall, made to look ridiculous. At the end of the film, the male model tells the artist he would love to pose nude for him, and the male artist tells him he would like that very much. There are approximately 3 uses of the word, d***, 3 uses of the word, h***, and the Lord’s name is profaned approximately 10 times.

Summary and Recommendations

“When in Rome”’s tale about finding true love falls short on many levels. From a cinematic standpoint, this film leaves much to be desired. It suffers from a poor script and character development, and resorts to a silly and, at times, a morally offensive brand of humor. More importantly, from a moral standpoint this superficial film does not hold up either. The characters and token moral lessons lack any real substance and could not be taken seriously amid this film’s often ridiculous plot, which was peppered with unnecessary and distasteful sexual content. If you are looking for a clean and entertaining romantic comedy that leaves you with something of significance to think about, I recommend skipping this one.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Recommended resources

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I saw this movie after reading the review, and I have to say the “nudity” is very obscure and artistic. There is nothing wrong with the way this movie portrays romance. If anything it encourages finding your true love.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Penny, age 34 (USA)
Positive—As a Hollywood PG-13 movie, it’s not surprising that there was objectionable content, which the reviewer above covered quite adequately. However, my wife and I enjoyed the movie much more than the reviewer above. We found it very funny and quite touching. Overall, I recommend it, as long as one is willing to deal with the usual PG-13 elements.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jeremy Klein, age 54 (USA)
Positive—I saw this movie with a (pre-Christian) girlfriend. We both loved the movie. I appreciated that the only sexual reference was by a heterosexual married couple! The fact that Beth would not enter into a relationship lightly was like a breath of fresh air. The incident where Beth was in the fountain (and the picture then published in the newspaper) after drinking wine was a fine example of the inappropriate things that people may do under the influence. Lots of silly things going on in the movie…made it light hearted. A great film with good moral quality.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Lisa V, age 44 (USA)
Negative

none

Comments from young people
Positive—I went to see this movie with some friends of mine, and I thought it was great! We laughed so hard…!! I highly recommend it!!!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rachel Peters, age 46 (USA)