When in Rome appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie offered a competent transfer but not a terrific one.
Sharpness became an occasional issue. Though much of the film looked pretty concise, sporadic examples of mysterious softness crept into the presentation. This hit close-ups more than wide shots, which was unusual. It appeared as though the cinematographer tried to soften Kristen Bell’s features, a decision that would make sense if she was 50 but doesn’t seem logical for a young actress.
Whatever the motivation, this left parts of the movie moderately soft. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained minor. Source flaws also failed to create problems.
In terms of colors, Rome went with a palette that favored a golden tone. This isn’t unusual, as many rom-coms do the same thing, but the degree to which Rome featured a stylized palette surprised me. The image bordered on brown at times, and that gave it a slightly unattractive tint. When the film got away from this heavy tone, the colors appeared pretty clear and concise. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. Much of the transfer looked fine, but the less attractive parts left it as a “B-“.
I thought that the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Rome seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that strongly favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.
Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. A few scenes opened up better, though, like at the wedding; that sequence boasted lively music, and a thunderstorm boasted good pizzazz. However, most of the movie stayed with limited imaging.
Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B-“ but didn’t particularly impress.
A smattering of fairly minor extras fleshes out the set. We start with an Alternate Opening and Ending. This reel lasts at total of seven minutes, 17 seconds and features “Alternate Opening: Take a Deep Breath” (6:18) and “Alternate Ending: Underwater Mummy” (0:59). The former shows a different form of humiliation heaped upon Beth at the museum, while the latter gives a little coda to the Jon Heder character. (Both are totally unrelated.) The ending is unnecessary, while the opening connects less well to the film’s story; the existing intro sets up the plot much better.
For behind the scenes material, we head to Crazy Casanovas: Mischief From the Set. It goes for 12 minutes, 28 seconds and we hear from director Mark Steven Johnson, producers Andrew Panay and Gary Foster, production designer Kirk M. Petruccelli, sculptor Giovanni Gianese, and actors Will Arnett, Josh Duhamel, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Danny Devito, Luca Calvani and Jon Heder. The show looks at characters and story, cast and performances, shooting in Rome and sets. Much of this falls in the “fluffy promotion” category, though a few fun moments occur. The program’s nothing special, but it’s watchable.
More cut footage shows up under Extended Pain with the Suitors. During its two minutes, 39 seconds, we see added shots from Beth’s climactic museum show. Like everything in the final film, these are relentlessly unamusing.
Kerplunk!: Bloopers from Rome fills three minutes, seven seconds. It boasts the standard array of goofs and giggles. A few slightly amusing outtakes appear, but most of this stuff is forgettable.
Eight Deleted Scenes occupy a total of seven minutes, 45 seconds. These include “Getting Married” (1:03), “Playing Cat and Mouse” (0:57), “Setting the Record Straight” (0:53), “Throwing Out Mummy” (0:57), “It’s the Naked Lady” (0:56), “The Saddest Thing” (1:39), “Look Both Ways” (0:28) and “Suitors Make a Scene” (0:52). Since nothing funny shows up in the final film, is it possible they left some gold on the cutting room floor? Nope. We get a little more exposition, but mostly we just find cut shots of the suitors, none of which become amusing.
Two Music Videos follow. We discover reels for “Starstrukk” by 30H!3 Featuring Katy Perry and “Stupid Love Letter” by Friday Night Boys. The former is a perfectly awful little piece of synth fluff, but Perry is super-hot and she romps in a fountain, so the video’s enjoyable. It also gets points for the way it ties into the movie but doesn’t show any film clips.
As for “Letter”, it also attempts a story, but it depends a bit too much of lip-synch band shots and movie snippets. The song itself is plastic Auto-tuned rock. Add to that the singer’s idiotic hairstyle and it’s a bust.
A few ads open the disc. We get clips for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Lost and Blu-Ray Disc. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with promos for Alice in Wonderland and ESPN World Cup 2010. No trailer for Rome pops up here.
Though it boasts a decent little fantasy rom-com premise, When in Rome fails to do much else right. It comes with a pervasive sense of stupidity and produces nary a laugh during its 90 minutes. The Blu-ray offers decent but unexceptional picture and audio, and its supplements remain modest. Even if the theme sounds fun to you, I’d still advise that you stay far away from this dreadful movie; it’s a romantic comedy that’s neither romantic nor funny.