Monday, March 28, 2011
Shitty Movie Review - "When in Rome"
Sometimes you see a trailer and you just know that the film is going to be awful, and then you can't wait for it to come to Netflix. "When in Rome" is that film. I knew from the moment that a comically-wigged Will Arnett was pictured in front of an obvious bluescreen mural that I would have to see this film. It had me at wiggy Will and bluescreen.
From the very opening seconds the caliber of "When in Rome" is quite clear. Stilted dialog, forced situations, predictable, overly-long jokes, bizarre casting, and poorly executed and unnecessary CG sequences overload the film. Despite all that it is very much a modern day slapstick film a la the Marx Bros. or Three Stooges, except that it's a romantic comedy and technically not good. Much of the film feels like it was designed as a joke on the viewer. But I for one relished the joke.
Without saying why they are in the film, I just want to rattle off some of the better known actors and personalities who contributed to the film: Kristin Bell, Josh Duhamel, Will Arnett, Dax Shepard, Dan Heder, Danny Devito, Anjelica Huston, Don Johnson, Alexis Dziena, Ghostface Killah, Lawrence Taylor, Shaquille O'Neal, and David Lee. This is a remarkable and eclectic cast that never in a million years would anyone have predicted would all be appearing in a film together. The seemingly random appearances by some of these people throughout the movie had me jumping out of my chair with my fists raised in the air—"Why, why are you, [insert actor's name here], in this movie?" As magic is one of the major plot devices in this movie, so too did it feel as though everyone involved had been enchanted and forced into participating in something that subconsciously everyone knew must have been wrong.
I must admit that I'm a bit torn over some of the gags. For the most part they are horrible. But at the same time I was laughing out loud at them, so I am uncertain whether the film can be considered genuinely funny at times or merely funny-but-not-really-in-the-way-it-was-intended-to-be-funny funny. You can pretty much spot the oncoming jokes from a mile away as they race towards the present a horse and buggy version of Doc Brown's Delorean. Watch any slapstick movie from the '30s or '40s and chances are that one of those jokes are in this movie, only dragged out even longer for maximum pain. One sequence features a vase that Kristin Bell's character is supposed to break, only it won't. Instead it bounces around oblivious to the rules of physics, smashing other objects and injuring people in the process. Now this has been done before, and it wouldn't even be that awful if it didn't feel like an eternity before the scene ends. As if that wasn't bad enough, the makers of this film thought that if a joke is good once, then clearly it should be good for two or more times. And in a way, they're right—the same joke twice is bad, the same joke three times is laughably bad.
Perhaps the ending credit sequence best symbolizes the movie overall. It features all of the principle characters dancing in front of a bluescreen with a poorly represented Rome as the backdrop. With the exception of Rome in the background and the actors from the movie, this sequence has nothing to do with anything else in the film. Perhaps it was fun for everyone involved in the making of the film, so maybe the viewer can take solace in knowing that someone derived some inkling of enjoyment from this film. That being said though, I did enjoy this film in all its shitty glory such that while I typically take notes while I watch a film, I enjoyed this one so thoroughly that I had trouble tearing my eyes and ears away for the most part. It is crap, but pure grade A crap.
My shitty movie rating: 9 out of 10 turds. This is a modern day shitty classic.