Firing a rather tepid opening salvo in Hollywood’s annual Valentine’s Day rom-com blitz is When in Rome starring Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall TV’s Veronica Mars) and Josh Duhamel (Turistas the Transformers flicks) and directed by Mark Steven Johnson (Ghost Rider Daredevil). You read that correctly: Johnson a guy who gave us two critically-reviled comic book flicks was tapped by Disney to direct a movie entirely devoid of acrobatic fight sequences or computerized visual effects the only filmmaking skills for which he’s received consistent praise. Hmmm ... maybe this is why Dick Cook was fired.
Bell plays Beth a high-strung New York City museum curator whose frustration over her barren love life spills over at her sister’s wedding in Rome where she winds up drunkenly splashing around in the city’s fictional “Fontana D’Amore.” The embarrassing but harmless episode takes a momentous turn however when Beth absentmindedly steals a handful of coins from the fountain unknowingly triggering an ancient Italian curse. Soon she’s romantically besieged by a diverse and highly aggressive group of oddballs played by Danny DeVito Dax Shepard Will Arnett and Jon Heder — the very men whose coins she plucked from the fabled fountain.
The concept isn’t entirely without potential but When in Rome’s script takes the quartet of previously funny actors and comedically castrates them forcing them to survive this creative Dust Bowl on precisely one joke apiece. DeVito playing a sausage magnate emits only meat-related quips; Shepard’s self-obsessed model explores the comic possibilities of his washboard stomach; hapless street artist Arnett plasters the city with nude portraits of his unrequited love; and Heder’s wannabe magician mounts a series of botched magic tricks. (In a gag that might have been funny back in 2004 Efren Ramirez Napoleon Dynamite’s Pedro enjoys a cameo as Heder’s videographer. He’s this week’s winner of the Jeff Zucker “How Does This Guy Have a Job?” Award.)
All of which serves to delay the inevitable coupling of Bell and Duhamel two likable leads who gamely trudge through material so inane so bland — and so safe — that it could fit comfortably in one of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s increasingly soporific family comedies. In fact I’m not even sure if When in Rome made use of the standard PG-13 allotment of one F-word (used in a non-sexual manner of course). Expect to hear it used liberally however by fellow audience members as the credits roll on this middling debacle.
August 14, 2001 11:23am EST
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Comic Judy Gold gave birth Thursday to a 7-pound, 8-ounce boy, The Associated Press reports. Gold, who hosts HBO's At the Multiplex With Judy Gold, and baby Benjamin Dov Callahan-Gold are doing fine.
More than 500 friends and coworkers attended a memorial Monday to Jack Lemmon at the Paramount Studios theater, AP reports. In attendance were actors Kevin Spacey, Hank Azaria, Tom Hanks and comedy writer Larry Gelbart. Lemmon died June 27 of cancer at the age of 76.
The 15th annual Hispanic Heritage Awards will honor director-writer Gregory Nava, artist and educator Judith Baca, Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Liz Balmaseda, tennis player Joe Fernandez and journalist talk-show host Cristina Saralegui, AP reports. The awards, to be held Aug. 25, will be broadcast Sept. 22 on NBC, with Gloria Estefan among the featured performers.
A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that Barbie, the sexy plastic siren, could be used in some controversial artistic photographs, Reuters reports. Judge Ronald Lew ruled Monday that artist Tom Forsythe could use Barbie dolls in a series of limited edition photographs that depicts them in various sexually explicit poses. Forsythe said that his photos attempt to skewer the stereotyping of women and commodification of female bodies.
An anonymous collector bought a pizza-stained piece of paper signed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison for $24,000 at a Melbourne auction on Monday, AP reports. The paper was signed in during the Beatles 1964 Australian tour. Drummer Ringo Starr was not on the tour because of a bout with laryngitis.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have canceled a concert in Tel Aviv because of sudden outbursts of suicide bombings in Israel. According to Reuters, some 20,000 tickets had already been sold for the concert, to be held at the end of August. Fans will be reimbursed for the tickets. Israeli tourism has dropped 50 percent since the bloodshed began, forcing the shut down of hotels and airlines to cut back on flights.
CNN is in talks with Rush Limbaugh about hosting a show, Variey reports. The network declined to comment on the talks but said it is always looking for a diversity of on-air voices. In the past, Limbaugh dubbed the network the "Clinton News Network". CNN is apparently attempting to woo big-name personalities in a bid to increase ratings and come across as less liberal to attract more conservative viewers. Limbaugh's TV show Rush Limbaugh, The Television Show failed to take off in 1992.
The new two-hour TV movie The Brady Bunch in Washington has papa Brady as president of the United States with wife Carol as vice president, Army Archerd reported in Variety. The movie apparently pokes fun at the White House, past and present. The film is executive produced by Sherwood Schwartz, with his son Lloyd producing and writing with Sherwood's daughter Hope Juber. Filming will take place in Toronto using a Canadian crew and actors.
Even though Rush Hour 2 has grossed an estimated $131.9 million at the domestic box office so far, industry insiders are wondering whether the movie could have made more had Regal Cinemas not passed on the movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, New Line Cinemas and Regal Cinema were involved in a dispute over film rental negotiations. Regal initially refused to screen the film as long as New Line sought firm-term rental negotiations. Regal claims that New Line broke off negotiations at the 11th hour and insists that missing Rush Hour 2 would not harm the company financially. The Regal Cinema chain has 4,067 screens.
A new series of Absolutely Fabulous will debut on the BBC's fall TV schedule, the BBC News reports. The British comedy, which stars Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Julia Sawalha, centers on a neurotic fashion publicist and her best friend, an outrageous fashion editor. The series also airs on the Comedy Central network.