- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 108op/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
- Region: A
- Rating: PG-13
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Touchstone
- Blu-ray Release Date: June 15, 2010
- List Price: $20.49
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
I still remember the days when Kristen Bell wiled away her weeks as the teenaged detective Veronica Mars solving crimes in her spare time between gym class and geometry quizzes. These days Bell’s star is well on the rise as a mainstay in the romantic comedy genre and her latest endeavor, When in Rome has freshly arrived on Blu-ray from Touchstone.
Bell is paired up with another Hollywood star on the rise, Josh Duhamel (no relation to yours truly). At first, this seemed like it might make interesting rom-com fodder, particularly in the trailers, but after only a few minutes in, When in Rome falls flat on its face. That’s not to say that the premise of the film isn’t interesting. Bell plays Beth, a Guggenheim Museum art curator cynical about love who suddenly finds herself in Rome for her little sister’s (Alexis Dziena) spur of the moment wedding. After a “meet cute” with the best man Nick (Duhamel) that turns sour when she sees him kissing another girl, Beth gets drunk, steals coins from Rome’s Fountain of Love, is suddenly being recklessly pursued (read: stalked) by a slew of crazy suitors under a love spell.
The mixture of fairytale, fantasy, and romance held some promise, but the story is telescoped from the start and the chemistry between Bell and Duhamel never rises above tepid tap-water warmth. It lies like a wet blanket, in other words. I’m also not so certain that the stalking element of the story is actually quite as funny as it seemed in the boardroom, or wherever this film was pieced together.
I must still admit, however, that Bell, despite the obviously sub par material still displays a wonderful charm that shows her deserved attention in the industry. Hopefully she can find some material more fitting to her abilities in a hurry.
When in Rome’s 2.35:1 AVC/MPEG-4 encoding has an odd, surrealistic sort of color palette. I suppose it fits the film’s fairytale-like theme, but it does sort of suppress the vibrancy of the colors. Otherwise the transfer is quite solid, apart from some occasional softness in the backgrounds. Things look clean and rather detailed. Color reproduction is stable, flesh tones are natural, and shadow detail is strong.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is your basic rom-com mix, nothing too crazy or bold, but it is certainly serviceable. The opening act’s weeding scene offers up some good musical moments that expand the soundstage nicely and give the subwoofer a chance to flex a bit. The surround channels are also given ample opportunity to come alive a bit with atmospheric sounds that engulf the listener rather well.
There are no fancy BD-Live options, interactive features, or even a digital copy offered up with When in Rome, but you do get a slew of 1080p video extras that gives the package a little bit more dollar and entertainment value.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Alternate Opening & Ending (2.35:1; 1080p/24)
- Crazy Casanovas: Mischief from the Set (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:12.28) — Join the fun and antics behind-the-scenes with this all-star comedic cast.
- Extended Pain with the Suitors (2.35:1; 1080p/24) — An extended sequence where the Suitors turn the Guggenheim Museum into their own Pain Exhibit.
- Kerplunk!: Bloopers From Rome (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 0:03.07)
- Deleted Scenes (2.35:1; 1080p/24) — Eight deleted scenes from When in Rome.
- Music Videos:
- “Starstrukk” by 30H!3 featuring Katy Perry (1.78:1; 1080p/24; Dolby Digital 5.1)
- “Stupid Love Letter” by Friday Night Boys (1.78:1; 1080p/24; Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Easter Egg: cast members discuss the craziest thing they ever did for love.
The Definitive Word
My final word on this film is, it’s probably not even up to the task as quality date night material. The Blu-ray release looks and sounds well enough, however. Perhaps it can be kept as a rental for a really slow weekend.
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