When in Rome

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
When in Rome Movie Poster Image
Teen-appeal actors disappoint in stereotypical romcom.
  • PG-13
  • 2010
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 31 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Positive messages include believing in the importance of love, putting personal relationships first, and trusting that not every relationship will end just because you've been hurt before or are the child of divorced parents. On the negative side, the movie makes light of somewhat creepy male behavior.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Beth is a successful, hardworking art curator who cares about her job -- though she's also somewhat stereotypically depicted. Nick is a generous, determined guy who treats Beth well.


Several pratfalls, all of them comedic.


Several passionate kisses, mostly between the leads, and some sexual innuendo. A newlywed couple makes out while they're both shirtless (though she has an apron covering up her front). A man loves to show off his body and frequently takes off his shirt in public.


A few uses of "damn" and "hell" and some exclamations along the lines of "oh my God."


Product placements include the following brands: Apple, BlackBerry, The Daily News, and Christian Louboutin. The Guggenheim Museum, where Beth works, is prominently featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of champagne drinking at a wedding reception, where Beth gets drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this romantic comedy depicts enchanted suitors who -- under a magical spell -- basically stalk a woman in a bid for her love. Although there's no explicit sexuality, there are several passionate kisses, and in one scene newlyweds appear topless except for an apron, which hides sensitive spots. There are a few comedic pratfalls, but no serious violence, and a few product placements that are obvious but not over-the-top. As is the case with many romantic comedies, the protagonist is a stereotype of a workaholic woman in search of love.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPhoenix T. May 20, 2018

A great romantic comedy

Comedy is more predominant than romance, unlike most romantic comedies. The leads are reasonably charming and the movie is entertaining almost all the way.
Adult Written byLaura B. July 10, 2017

When in Rome and there is nothing italian about it

Did they make at least a minimum research of the real italian culture?not even a little. The "Italian" wedding had nothing italian! The vase, the danc... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 28, 2020

Cute movie for kids

When in Rome is a cute and entertaining rom com that kids will like. But it has a little bit of sexy stuff and language but still kids will like it.
Teen, 14 years old Written byThePirateQueen November 11, 2018

Really good

This is a really fun light movie! It has some iffy scenes, but its overall a good film to watch with kids and up.

What's the story?

Beth (Kristen Bell) is an ambitious modern-art curator at New York's Guggenheim Museum who puts work above all else. On a trip to Rome for her sister's wedding, she hits it off with dashing best man Nick (Josh Duhamel) ... until she sees him kissing another woman. Drunk and angry, Beth steps into a "fountain of love" and starts grabbing coins, which sparks a spell causing all of the men who threw the coins to instantly fall in love with her. Somehow, the men -- a street magician (Jon Heder), a sausage tycoon (Danny DeVito), a self-absorbed model (Dax Shepard), and an aspiring artist (Will Arnett) -- follow Beth around back in New York, while an equally smitten Nick tries to convince her to go out with him. Beth reluctantly starts believing in the spell and fears that Nick, the only suitor whose feelings she returns, isn't truly in love with her. Is his affection based on the fountain's powers, or just the magic of true love?

Is it any good?

Director Mark Steven Johnson deserves an award for wasting the talents of so many comic actors. The supporting actors are all much, much funnier in their other films, and the screenplay is so formulaic that even a fifth grader could guess what's bound to happen. Yes, Bell is adorable and Duhamel is hunky, but their looks alone can't save this utterly predictable and gag-inducing sappy story.

WHEN IN ROME is further proof that it's nearly impossible to find an original, memorable romantic comedy. The entire genre has been diluted into a series of stereotypes (including the over-dependence on cities like Rome and New York) and plot bunnies unworthy of undergraduate screenwriting courses. It's not that romantic comedies aren't worth watching as a whole (although the truly remarkable ones are getting rarer and rarer), but this one sure isn't.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the theme of real love versus unrequited infatuation. Does following someone you like around, sending them presents, and trying to force them to return your feelings work? Are the spellbound suitors funny, or do they seem creepy? What would teens do if this happened in real life?

  • What romantic-comedy stereotypes appear in this movie?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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