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WHEN IN ROME

film_romeOnce upon a time, Josh Duhamel had a featured role in a popular soap opera which earned him a legion of female fans. Kristen Bell also has her share of devotees after recurring roles in three cult TV series. These combined crossover viewers will be the principal audience for When In Rome, the silly, but harmless romantic comedy in which Bell and Duhamel co-star. Written by David Diamond and David Weissman for director Mark Steven Johnson, it's a typical story of impossibly beautiful people destined to be together who nevertheless keep throwing roadblocks in the path of love. Bell stars as Beth, a junior art curator in New York City (at the Guggenheim, no less), who's given up on love. At her kid sister's wedding in Rome to a man she's only known for two weeks ("That's not even enough time for a credit check!"), Beth seems to hit it off with best man and fellow New Yorker, Nick (Duhamel), until she (mistakenly) thinks she's been played. At a so-called "Fountain of Love," into which tourists pitch coins in hopes of finding amore, Beth, Grinch-like, purloins some coins.

Back in New York, she's suddenly pursued by the lovelorn folks (all male, as it turns out) whose coins she stole: an ebullient Italian artist (Will Arnett), a goofy street magician with delusions of awesomeness (Jon Heder), a narcissistic male model (Dax Shepard), a gnomish sausage manufacturer who calls himself a "curator … of encased meat" (Danny DeVito)—and Nick. Sorting out true love from the spellbound kind film_when_in_rometakes awhile, but along the way there's some cute dialogue ("I don't know whether to look at you or my own reflection, that's how beautiful you are," the model tells Beth), sight-gags (including a midget Italian "clown car"), and references to other movies, especially the goodbye scene in The Wizard of Oz. (Although a Napoleon Dynamite gag featuring Heder and former co-star Efren Ramirez, and the Slumdog Millionaire dance finale feel completely gratuitous.) Other comedy bits are beyond stupid (a dinner date in a pitch-black restaurant is crashed by all four of Beth's suitors in night goggles), while director Johnson, best known for comic-book action movies, depends too much on tedious slapstick. Still, powered by Bell's perkiness and Duhamel's likeable ease, this movie is like a fizzy Asti Spumante: sweet and insubstantial. (PG-13) 91 minutes. (★★1/2)—LJ
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It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

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