Archive for Don Johnson

The Other Woman

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , on September 15, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Carly, an attorney, has just started a relationship with Mark, a man she had sex with eight weeks prior. She is upset when Mark tells her he has to go out of town but decides to go over to his house to seduce him. She is horrified to meet Kate, Mark’s wife. While initially hostile, the two women befriend one another. Kate then discovers that Mark is seeing another woman, whom she initially believes to be Carly, but both she and Carly discover that Mark is seeing a third woman, Amber.

Carly and Kate travel to the beach, where Kate has a run-in with Amber, and the two women inform her that Mark has been cheating on all of them. They decide to take revenge. They spike his drinks with estrogen to give him breasts and a laxative to cause him diarrhea, and put hair-removal cream in his shampoo. In the course of carrying out their pranks, they discover that Mark has been embezzling from various companies at his workplace. Meanwhile, Carly begins to connect romantically with Kate’s brother Phil. In addition, Amber confides to Carly that she is seeing someone else as well. However, their camaraderie begins to fall apart when Kate finds herself falling in love with Mark again after an investor’s dinner. Carly exposes Mark’s fraud, upsetting Kate.

Later, when Mark goes to the Bahamas on a supposed business trip, Kate decides to follow him there and expose him. She finds Carly and Amber at the airport, who explain what Mark has been up to – using Kate as the owner of the companies he defrauded, which if discovered would result in her going to prison. She also finds out that Mark has been seeing yet another woman: someone he has met on this trip. This, and the possibility of facing prison, motivate Kate to take action with the help of Carly’s legal expertise.

When Mark returns from vacation, he visits Carly at her office. He is locked in the conference room by Carly’s assistant and friend, Lydia, and is shocked to find all three women who proceed to confront him with his infidelities and embezzlement. With Carly as her attorney, Kate presents divorce papers and a list of their assets. Kate reveals that she has returned the embezzled money to the companies, which saves the couple from prison time but leaves Mark bankrupt, much to his shock and hysterical outrage. Additionally, Mark’s business partner Nick arrives and fires Mark upon the discovery of the crime. In his anger and rush to leave, Mark smashes into the glass office twice, the second time shattering it and severely injuring himself. He then finds his car being towed away and earns a punch in the face from Carly’s father, Frank. Appreciating Kate’s honesty, Nick offers her the chance to take over Mark’s job.

In the film’s epilogue, Carly and Phil fall in love, and the couple are expecting a child; Amber marries Frank; and Kate works as a CEO with Mark’s former business partners, with the company making a profit under her leadership.


Alright! Today, I’m going to sit here and actually watch The Other Woman. I’ve been putting this off pretty much since it was initially released. Featuring the fantasy inducing trio of Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton, I think this will be a worthy viewing. Let’s find out if I am right, shall we?

What is this about?

When she finds out that her boyfriend is married and that she’s his mistress, a woman teams up with the jerk’s wife to get revenge. Nicki Minaj makes her live-action debut in this comedy about getting the upper hand in a relationship.

What did I like?

Now and then. For the longest time now, Cameron Diaz has been the poster girl for hotness in Hollywood, but time is starting to catch up with her. Don’t get me wrong, she still looks amazing, but age is starting to show, which is a good thing, I guess, as it just shows us that she isn’t going under the knife every other day or using some other outlandish technique to stay young and relevant. I bring this up because there is a scene where she is on the beach in a bikini and sees Kate Upton’s character, immediately comparing herself to her. This brought to mind her scene from Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle for some reason. Maybe it was the body comparison. Still, seeing what used to be hot and what currently is was interesting (they both are smokin’ in my book, btw)

Working together. Diaz, Upton, and Leslie Mann should not know about each other, let alone become good friends. Interesting that the film went that way, but what I found more intriguing was how well Mann and Diaz played off each other. The comedic sensibilities of these two women was on point as they bounced jokes off each other like a seasoned comedy duo. When Upton, who is not an actress, joins them, all she has to do is tell her lines and look hot. It helps that she does seem to have a bit of a knack for comedy. Maybe if she sticks with the acting, we’ll get more of her in comedic roles.

Hit the beach. Your films stars 3 gorgeous women, 2 of which are known for having amazing bikini bodies. Do you stick them in an apartment in the city or take a trip down to the tropics where they can show themselves off? Not to mention the scenery itself was breathtaking. Now, I feel as if I should make some mention of the fact that this was nothing more than an excuse to get these women to parade around half-naked for most of the movie but, the fact is, Leslie Mann never dons a bikini, Cameron Diaz only has one scene where she is bikini clad, and Kate Upton has two. They aren’t parading around “setting women back” or whatever.

What didn’t I like?

Fart jokes. In theory, this is more of an “adult” movie. That is to say that the target audience is a more mature demographic. So, why is it that they felt the need to lower themselves to the use of potty humor? I understand that they were out for revenge on this guy, and the laxative thing was funny, up until they went all the way to the bathroom with it. Some things work better through the power of suggestion, if you know what I mean.

Schoolmarm. Leslie Mann’s character is arguably the best thing about this film. While Cameron Diaz is too busy being the cold-hearted lawyer bitch and Kate Upton is stopping just shy of being a throwback to the ahead beach bimbos of yesteryear, Mann is a bag of emotions that is normally too much for me, but I found myself easily connecting with. Maybe because I’ve recently been in a similar situation. That being said, I take umbrage with the decision to dress her as frumpy as can be. Now, given the fact that she’s standing toe to toe with Diaz and Mann, she’s bound to look a little out of place, but some of the outfits she wore were more fitting someone living alone with 12 cats, rather than a housewife with a husband (loving or not).

Annoyance. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the big screen debut of that future Oscar winner, Nick Minaj! Yes, that creature of untold fairness and absolutely no talent is here playing the typical sassy black “friend.” Making matter worse, she speaks in that weird accent she uses in her raps  and her time on American Idol. This woman, and I use that term lightly, is a pox on out society. She brings absolutely nothing to this film, other than some diversity.

As despicable a character as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is on Game of Thrones, this film let him be the total douche we expect him to play. The problem is, we don’t get enough of a backstory to allow us to form a bias one way or another. Obviously, we should be cheering the ladies on in this endeavor, but he’s just so charming. The Other Woman presents the ridiculous idea of what would happen if a guy is cheating on his wife with 2 other women. A fantasy of many a man out there, I don’t think the execution worked as well as the filmmaker would have liked and this came off more as a some sort of man-hating chick flick. Do I recommend it? Well, it had plenty of funny moments, and you can’t go wrong with 3 beautiful women but I have to say no.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Django Unchained

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Django (Jamie Foxx) and his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) are sold at a slave auction. While Broomhilda is sold to an unknown buyer, Django is bought by the Speck brothers (James Remar and James Russo). When Django and a number of slaves are being transported across the country, the Brothers are confronted by Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German bounty hunter who uses his former profession as a dentist as a cover for his bounty hunting activities. Schultz frees Django and kills the Speck brothers. He reveals that he sought out Django because Django can identify the Brittle brothers—Ellis, Big John and Little Raj—a band of ruthless killers with a price on their heads. Schultz and Django come to an agreement: in exchange for helping locate the Brittle brothers, Schultz will free Django from slavery entirely and help him rescue Broomhilda from Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), a plantation owner who is as charming as he is brutal. On his plantation, Candyland, male slaves are trained to fight to the death for sport, while female slaves are forced into prostitution. Django agrees, and the two go after Candie and the Brittle gang. Shultz confesses that his profession of bounty hunting is opportunistic but he also mentions to Django that he “despises slavery”.

After hunting down and killing the Brittle brothers, Schultz takes on Django as his associate in bounty hunting. Django is initially uneasy about his newfound role, but soon proves himself to be a talented bounty hunter. After collecting a number of bounties over the course of the winter, Schultz and Django confirm that Calvin Candie is Broomhilda’s current owner. After scoring an invitation to Candyland, they devise a plan where the two of them pose as potential purchasers of one of Candie’s slave fighters in order to reach Broomhilda. Upon their arrival, Schultz introduces Django as his equal, which causes hostility at Candieland, where racist attitudes are considerably more pronounced than on other plantations. They are shocked to witness Candie execute a slave by having attack dogs tear him apart, but quickly come to an agreement to purchase a fighting slave. Schultz improvises on their plan and also purchases Broomhilda, claiming that as a fortuitous coincidence he noticed that Broomhilda speaks German and felt that she would help alleviate his nostalgia for his mother tongue.

The plan goes awry when Candie’s head slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) realises that Schultz and Django are more interested in Broomhilda than purchasing a fighter. Correctly deducing that Django and Broomhilda are husband and wife, Stephen informs Candie, who, armed with this information, demands $12,000 for Broomhilda or else he will kill her in front of Django. Left with no other choice, they agree, but Candie’s humiliating behaviour enrages Schultz, who kills him after the paperwork finalising the sale is completed. Schultz is shot as Django tries to escape Candyland, slaughtering most of the household before being subdued. As punishment, Stephen arranges for Django to be sent to a coal mine and worked to death. En route to the mine, Django convinces the slave drivers that he is a bounty hunter, showing them the handbill from his first kill as proof of his claims. Once freed, he kills the slave drivers and rides back to Candyland.

Once inside the plantation, Django continues his slaughter of the household, planting dynamite as he goes. He leaves Stephen alive inside the mansion and takes the certificate of freedom that Candie signed for Broomhilda as part of the purchase agreement before his death. Finally free, Django and Broomhilda ride away from Candyland as the dynamite explodes, killing Stephen and wiping Candyland off the map.


This time last year, there were three movies that I was super excited to see. One of them got pushed back to the coming spring, while another went on to be the summer’s and one of the year’s biggest hits, The Avengers. Then we have Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s ultra violet, controversial, spaghetti western. A flick that I’ve been looking forward to since I found out what it was about.

What is this about?

Former dentist, Dr. King Schultz, buys the freedom of a slave, Django, and trains him with the intent to make him his deputy bounty hunter. Instead, he is led to the site of Django’s wife who is under the hands of Calvin Candie, a sadistic plantation owner.

What did I like?

No fear. Earlier this year, when Red Tails came out, the African-American community all but crucified George Lucas for basically making a film about how they were treated when he wasn’t of the same race. The same kind of thing is going on here with Tarantino and his handling of slavery and people’s attitudes during the time, but I’ll get to that a little later. Personally, I don’t care what color the filmmaker is, as long as he makes a good film. Tarantino is one of the few in Hollywood with the balls to try this.

Leo. I remember when he was nothing more than a recurring guest star on Growing Pains. Now, Leonardo DiCaprio is a bona fide movie star, arguably one of the biggest names in Hollywood. He turns in a great performance as Calvin Candide, the sadistic plantation owner. Not only is his performance over-the-top, in terms of southern charm, but the intensity he brings to the table (figuratively and literally) is something that we haven’t really seen from him before. A critic I was reading the other day said that this is the performance of his career and that this could possibly get him that Oscar nod, if not for the controversy this film is steeped in.

Story. Quentin Tarantino has never been known as someone who can’t tell a great story. Look at his other films, if you question his story telling. You can argue the point that this may very well be his best work, in terms of storytelling, and many would agree with you. I’m not sure where I stand on that, but it definitely is up there. He really knows how to mix comedy and the more serious tones that were taken in parts. The yin and yang, if you will, make for an entertaining time.

Jackson Waltz. Christoph Waltz is one of the actors who has really gained fame here in the last few years, along with the likes of Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbender and, to a lesser extent, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. As we saw in The Green Hornet, he does have some comedic chops to go with his immense acting talent. While Jamie Foxx’s character is a man of few words, Waltz takes lead and carries the film, until the time when Foxx grows some balls and gets excited about “getting paid for killing white folks”. Samuel L. Jackson (how can this be a Tarantino film without him?) gets to really flex his more comedic chops as the head house slave. I really think they didn’t even write some of these lines and he just ad-libbed most of his lines.

Bloody. Let me be perfectly clear on this. If you cannot stomach seeing people get their heads blown off and copious amounts of blood, then there really is no reason for you to be watching. I’m not one for blood and gore, but when it is over the top as it is here, I’m all for it, plus this is a western, so I was loving it from the get go. I know some people are going to say that the gushing blood was too much or that it was unrealistic, but for me, it was perfect! There are plenty of other “real” things going on in this film.

What didn’t I like?

Length. Every one of Tarantino’s films has been way too long for its own good and this is no exception. Someone needs to get ahold of that man and shake him until he stops dragging these things out so. There was no need for this to be nearly 3 hours long when he could have very well just cut out a good 30-45 minutes worth of useless filler.

Big Daddy. Don Johnson was a great southern plantation owner, not as good as DiCaprio, though, but I have to wonder why this career comeback he’s on has him playing these racist characters. First, he was all about killing Mexicans in Machete, and now he’s all about owning slaves.

Music. Tarantino is known for not using original music for his films, which is fine. It actually sets him apart, but there is a scene here where they are riding through the countryside, but they play some kind of rap song. I’m not a big rap fan in the first place, but this really seemed like it was out of place, even more so in a western. If he wanted to use that song, then the credits would have been the place to use it.

N word. The elephant in the room is the frequent use on the N-word. Tarantino is known for using it in every one of his films, but for some reason he tries to pull a Randall from Clerks 2 and apparently take it back, since he uses it some 200 or so times. There have been some critics tearing the use of the word. Spike Lee, he of such upstanding racial views, has said he is boycotting because it offends his ancestors. While I don’t particularly care for using it so many times, this is a movie about slavery, so you can’t expect it to be used a few times. Also, if two prominent African-American actors don’t have any issues with it, then why is everyone making such a big deal about it? The N word is one of those that stirs up lots of emotions and Tarantino should have known better than to use it so much.

Django Unchained has been one of the films here at the end of the year that has become a critics’ darling, along with Les Miserables. I totally enjoyed the hell out of this film, with its mix of action, comedy, suspense, drama, and a slight love story. I would love to recommend this to everyone, but I can’t. This just isn’t the flick for everyone, as it has a few elements that are sure to offend. For those of you that aren’t easily offended, though, I highly recommend it. As a matter of fact, why aren;t you rushing out to see it right now?!?

5 out of 5 stars

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A small-town manchild with big buck-teeth, Bucky Larson (Nick Swardson), stumbles upon a family secret: His quiet and reserved parents (Edward Hermann and Miriam Flynn) were famous porn stars in the 1970s. This motivates him to leave northern Iowa for Hollywood, hoping to follow in their footsteps and fulfill his destiny as the biggest adult-film star in the world. Unfortunately, he has no idea how to become a porn star like his parents, and his penis is incredibly small.

Through a series of misunderstandings, he gets a job as a porn actor with fading director Miles Deep (Don Johnson). He makes several films, and achieves a certain fame when his small penis makes women appreciate their partner’s endowment. Along the way he meets and falls in love with Kathy (Christina Ricci), a kindhearted waitress. After becoming incredibly famous, Bucky learns he justs wants to be with Kathy; she rejects him without explanation, however, leaving him brokenhearted. During a film shoot, Miles confesses that he had told Kathy to leave Bucky so he could have his prize star all to himself. Bucky forgives Miles and goes after Kathy, who is on a horrible date with another porn star, the well-endowed Dick Shadow (Stephen Dorff). Bucky declares his love, and the two get married. After one year, Bucky opens his own famous steakhouse. One night, his former roommate (Kevin Nealon) comes into the restaurant and yells at him for owing him rent money, and tells Bucky he is “just like John Mayer”.


If you’ve ever seen a porn flick, then you know how hilarious those things can be. Imagine what it must be like filming those things. Sure, we got a taste of it in Zack & Miri Make a Porno, but just imagine how uncomfortable it has to committing random sex acts on multiple partners, and then having to repeat it over and over again. Well, that isn’t quite the kind of thing we get in Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, but it should be.

What did I like?

Return. For those of us that were around in the 90s, we can remember when Pauly Shore was all over the place, whether we wanted to see him or not. Then, he suddenly disappeared. All of a sudden he reappears here, playing himself. Other than a bit of a receding hair line, he doesn’t look much different that when I last saw him in…I think it was either Bio-Dome or Son-in-Law, but I’m not 100% sure.

Christina. I’ve loved Christina Ricci ever since first seeing her in The Addams Family. Since then she has grown into a gorgeous woman (even with that large forehead). With her gorgeous, and dare I say retro, looks her talent as an actress has also grown exponentially. That killer combo makes her a great leading lady, as we can see here.

Legacy. Being the child of two legendary porn stars has to be tough. Can you imagine what it would be like if that would happen with a couple of today’s stars? Who knows…maybe it has happened, and we just don’t know it, yet.

What didn’t I like?

Nick Swardson. This guy cannot act and quite frankly isn’t funny. The thing is that he has done better work before, so this can be attributed to being a fluke, maybe.

Horrendous. The story doesn’t have the most potential, but the script makes a bad thing worse. It is nearly unwatchable, even by someone like me who can take just about everything. I can’t really tell whether it was something about the bad jokes/puns, cliché conflict, or what it was, but this was just bad beyond bad.

Industry. Maybe it is just me, but for a flick that stops short of glorifying the porn industry, shouldn’t they have brought in a few actual stars? To my knowledge, there aren’t any  in sight. For goodness sakes, Stephen Dorff is playing some guy named Dick Shadow!

Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star more than likely went under your radar when it was released. It is probably better served further under that radar and never even acknowledge that you know it exists. Yes, this film has a few moments here and there, but never enough to overcome the film’s bad plot and acting. That is if you can get past how annoying Bucky Larson is. This is one of those films that you should avoid like the plague!!!

1 1/2 out of 5 stars


Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2011 by Mystery Man


PLOT (spiler alert!!!):

The story revolves around an illegal immigrant, Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo), a former Mexican Federale turned renegade. The film opens in Mexico with Machete on a mission to rescue a kidnapped girl. During the operation he crossed his corrupt Chief as well as the powerful drug lord, Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal) who kills Machete’s wife and daughter, leaving him for dead thereafter.

Three years later, a down and out Machete roams Texas looking to do yard work in exchange for money. Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), a local businessman and spin doctor, explains to Machete that the corrupt Texas State Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) is sending hundreds of illegals out of the country. In order to stop this, Booth offers Machete $150,000 to kill McLaughlin. Machete accepts the murder contract after being threatened by Booth if he doesn’t.

While Machete is watching McLaughlin from a rooftop during a rally, he is double-crossed and one of Booth’s henchmen shoots him and then shoots Senator McLaughlin in the leg. It is revealed that Booth orchestrated the entire attempted assassination as part of a false flag operation to gain public support for McLaughlin’s campaign so that a more secure border is put in place. By setting up Machete as the gunman, the conspirators make it appear that an outlaw illegal Mexican immigrant has tried to assassinate the senator.

An injured Machete escapes capture by Booth and is taken to a Mexican network hospital to be treated for wounds, escaping once again from Booth’s henchmen at the hospital. Agent Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba), a persistent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, is sent by her superior to find and capture the injured Machete. Machete, with the help of Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) recruits Padre (Cheech Marin), Machete’s “holy” brother. To take revenge on Booth, Machete kidnaps Booth’s wife and his daughter, April (Lindsay Lohan), after “starring” in an amateur adult film with them. He also collects evidence from Booth’s house linking Senator McLaughlin and the Mexican drug lord in major drugs trafficking deal. After encountering Machete, Sartana begins to develop an interest in him.

Booth and his men kill Padre after finding Machete’s hideout, but do not find his wife and daughter, and unbeknown to Booth the church has hidden cameras watching him. Through the recordings, the news of McLaughlin’s corruption and faked assassination is eventually aired on national television. This causes McLaughlin to kill Booth out of anger and heads back to join Rogelio Torrez to kill Machete. In order to eliminate the people who double crossed him, Machete gathers the Mexican Network and leads them to the base of the border vigilantes, led by Von Jackson (Don Johnson).

During this confrontation the Mexican immigrants triumph over the border vigilantes. Jackson is killed by a shot to the back of the head fired by Luz (who was lying in wait for him inside his jeep to kill him for attempting to kill her earlier by shooting her in the head through her right eye) while trying to escape the warzone and Machete fights Torrez, culminating with the drug lord committing seppuku with one of Machete’s blades that he had just been stabbed with. April even shows up wearing a nun’s habbit after escaping from the church and attempts to kill Senator McLaughlin after figuring out that he was the one who killed her father.

Senator McLaughlin escapes, but he is later killed by the last remnants of his own border vigilante group (led by the new recruit who was seen earlier in the film) who mistake him for a Mexican. The film ends with Machete being brought legal status papers by Sartana Rivera and riding off with her into the night.

Before the credits roll, the announcer says that Machete will return in Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again.


 For those of you not familiar with Machete, he is not a comic book character, nor is this some sort of remake, but rather this whole film was created as a toungue-in-cheek joke trailer before the Grindhouse movies(Planet Terror and Death Proof).

Now, when I saw the original trailer, like most people, I was saying why don’t they make that for real. However, when I saw the actual trailer for this, I was a bit skeptical. So much so, that I stayed away from this film in theaters. Man, was that a big mistake!


There, I said it. With a mix of blood and gore, Machete makes for a very enjoyable time.

The plot…yes, there is a basically Machete’s wife (and it is assumed his daughter) are killed and he seeks revenge. Along the way he is framed for the attempted assassination of a State Senator who is a proponent of border fences. Eventually, Machete teams up with some Mexican liberation forces for one final bloody showdown that is the perfect culmination of awesomeness!

Some have said that this is a blatant attack on the immigration issue and border control, etc. Well, so what if it is? Do you realize how many films there are out there that deal with the war in the Middle East, or that make fun of /touch on various other hot button issues? Why is it such a big deal that this deals with the border? I just don’t understand. Regardless, it gives the film a pinch of a plot that is needed to please those stuffed shirt critics.

Enough about that, let’s talk action. There is plenty of it, along with explosions…most of them bloody. Seriously, the guy carries around a giant machete, do you expect him to go around handing out flowers and unicorns?

I do have a minor complaint with this film, though, and that has toi do with the way it was edited. One of the things that I loved about Grindhouse:Planet Terror was that it had that whole grainy look, complete with the popping sounds. This was also used in Black Dynamite very effectively, but for some reason in Machete, they chose to use it for the flashback scene, and that was it. Sure, it makes sense to give the idea of being the past and all, but they cold have done just as well going black and white with that, if you ask me.

The cast is quite intriguing. Danny Trejo is a bad ass. That’s all that needs to be said.

Michelle Rodriguez is back to her usual miserable looking self (with a hot body)…well, she is after her eye gets shot out of her head.

Jessica Alba is strictly eye candy. Don’t expect anything from her in this thing, but we do get the closest thing to a nude scene from her that we’ll probably ever see and that enough is worth a couple stars!!!!

Lindsay Lohan being in this film (with a body double for the nude scenes) is quite funny, especially when you consider how her character is very similar to her real life issues.

Robert DeNiro in a film like this? Has he fallen from the A-list? Good heavens no…well, after Little Fockers he might have, but this was just one of those film to do for fun. Actors are allowed to do that, contrary to popular belief.

Rounding out the cast we have Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey, and introducing Don Johnson. Yes, I said introducing Don Johnson. Gotta love that humor of these filmmakers.

Machete is not for everyone. This is one of those bloody films where nearly everyone dies. On top of that, it has a bit of a political message. Once you get past those two little things, it really is quite the enjoyable flick. I do wish there would have been blood, but apparently they are writing the two sequels. Whether or not they make it to the big screen remains to be seen, but you can bet I’ll be one of the first in line to see them. Should you see this flick, though? Let me put it this way, if you don’t, then a giant Mexican with a machete is likely to show up at your front door and ask why you haven’t. Do you really want to deal with that?

5 out of 5 stars

When in Rome

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2010 by Mystery Man


A successful and single Guggenheim art curator Beth (Kristen Bell) is at a point in her life where love seems like a luxury she just can’t afford. Years of waiting for the perfect romance have made Beth bitter. One day, she flies to Rome to attend her younger sister Joan’s (Alexis Dziena) impulsive wedding. She meets Nicholas Beamon (Josh Duhamel), who rescues her in a couple of difficult situations but is just as much of a clumsy clod as she is. They hit it off well and reach a point where both parties take an interest in the other.

Just as Beth convinces herself to believe in love again, she sees Nick kissing another woman, who turns out to be the groom’s (Luca Calvani) ‘crazy cousin’. Slightly drunk, she picks up coins (a poker chip, a rare coin, a penny, a quarter and a Euro) from the “fountain of love” (probably based on the Trevi Fountain). She later learns from Joan that legend says, if you take coins from the fountain, the owner of the coin will fall in love with you. She has to return the coins to the fountain to break the spell, but is tied up at work with an important gala that her demanding boss, Celeste (Anjelica Huston) has pressured her into taking care of.

She is pursued back to New York by a band of aggressive suitors whose coins she took, including a diminutive sausage magnate (Danny DeVito), lanky street magician Lance (Jon Heder), a doting painter (Will Arnett), and a narcissistic male model (Dax Shepard). As she falls in love with Nick, she realizes that the poker chip belongs to Nick and is convinced that Nick is merely under a spell, not truly in love with her.

Joan calls Beth on the day of the gala and informs her that the spell can also be broken by returning the coins to the original owner. Stacey (Kate Micucci), Beth’s secretary–who is highly concerned about Beth’s miserable love life–overhears the conversation and steals the coins, believing that Beth would lead a better life with people loving her, regardless of the spell.

Beth’s suitors all show up together at her apartment and she decides to break it to them that she does not love them and plans to return them the coins. After she blurts out her love for Nick to them, she realizes that Stacey has stolen the coins and goes on a mission to retrieve the coins with her suitors aiding her.

When Beth explains to Stacey that this is not the way she believes love is, Stacey returns the coins and Beth hands back the coins to their owners. Left with the poker chip, she calls Nick and thanks him for making her believe in love again. As Nick makes his way to the gala to search for Beth in a sudden lightning storm that hits New York, Beth is in a situation with Lance who plays with the poker chip by doing disappearing tricks. She accidentally hits the chip out of Lance’s hands and chases it as it rolls down three floors of the spiral gallery.

The chip is picked up by Nick, who appears to be in love with Beth still, convincing Beth that his love was true all along. However, on their wedding day in Rome, Lance reveals to Beth that he had multiple poker chips and the one Beth knocked out on the night of the lightning storm was just one of them, which proves that Nick did not break out of the spell. While exchanging wedding vows, Beth hesitates and dashes out of the building to everyone’s surprise. She revisits the fountain of love where she originally picked up the coins and climbs in like before.

Nick appears and climbs into the fountain. He claims that he didn’t throw a chip into the fountain at all. He drops the poker chip in the water and the priest is heard yelling ‘Free of temptation!’. Nick finally believes Beth and kisses her.


In all the romantic comedies I’ve seen, the one thing that seems to be a constant is that they seem to forget the comedy. When in Rome does not fall into this category, though. Having said that, this thing is also heavy on the sappiness, so much so that is goes into the chick flick category.

Don’t get me wrong, the sappy love story part of this works and is the major plot point of this film, but seriously, what straight man is going to willingly want to see a film about some chick’s quest for true love, even if she is as hot as Kristen Bell? Not many, I can tell you that, especially when there are so many testosterone driven films out there that are more appealing.

That being said, this isn’t a bad film, and isn’t a typical man bashing rom-com, but instead it makes the guy seem human, which I really liked, and the girl has her own set of issues, such as not being able to find the right guy.

There are quite a few funny moments in this films, most of which involve Josh Duhamel being accident prone or some kind of situation with the 4 guys whose coins Kristen Bell has stolen.

The basic story here is quite good, although, I belive it could have been executed a bit better. There just seemed to be a disconnect somewhere between the magic of the coins and the real world. Yeah, that makes no sense to me, either. In a nutshell, it goes back and forth between being a fantasy film and having roots in the real world, without knowing which works better.

Casting was not a problem. Jon Heder, Danny DeVito, Will Arnett, and Dax Shepard are great as the suitors. Each with their own quirk. Heder probably does the best, in my opinion, especially in the scene where hereunites with Efrem Ramirez (who is playing a Pedro-like character).

Kristen Bell fits this role perfectly. Her girl next door looks and natural talent make it easy to feel connected to her throughout the film, though one has to wonder why she just didn’t get the hint about the poker chip.

Josh Duhamel is a true surprise, as I had no idea he had comedy chops, but he does. Combine this with his natural charisma and it makes for a solid leading man for this film. I really felt sorry for the guy, though. The whole being struck by lightning in the middle of a football game, his accident prone ways, and the way Kristen Bell seemed to be falling for him, only to keep pushing him away, just got to me.

I don’t really know why the critics are so down on it. I swear, I think they’ve forgotten what it is like to watch a film and enjoy it for what it is, rather than critique every little thing and have a default setting of “it sucks”.

This is not a film your typical guy is going to like, unless they have a huge crush on Kristen Bell or are a fan of Josh Duhamel, because there really isn’t anything guys would like in this. Well, there is a scene where Alexis Dziena is wearing nothing but an apron, but you can’t see anything there, so it doesn’t really matter. I liked this film, but I didn’t fall in love with it. It made me laugh and I felt for th characters, which is pretty much all you ask for in a rom-com, but in the end, it was just too sappy for my taste. Still, I would recommend this as a good date flick.

4 out of 5 stars