Forgetting Sarah Marshall's Kristen Bell stirs more comical passions as a hard-working singleton who gets an attack of the romantic blues while attending her sister's wedding in Rome. After angrily 'rescuing' five coins from a fountain of love, she returns to New York to find that each of the coin-throwers has mysteriously fallen head over heels for her. Josh Duhamel, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Dax Shepard and, er, Danny DeVito are the suitors caught in a lovestruck tizz.
Mark Steven Johnson
Like a quickly taken free kick, the idea of sneaking out director Mark Steven Johnson's first attempt at romantic comedy during the World Cup wasn't bad. Pity the move comes to nothing for the spectators.
Already dismissed from the comic-book field for two bookable offences (Daredevil and Ghost Rider), Johnson once more finds himself out of position and struggling to find the target with a script that glides like a punctured Jubulani match ball.
Leaving footy analogies on the bench for a moment, the set-up finds Bell's crazy-busy art curator Beth (Bell) jetting off to Rome to see her little sister (Alexis Dziena) marry her new Italian beau.
Beth has a reputation for putting on great exhibitions - apparently of herself. Following a public misunderstanding at her last show, further humiliation awaits in the Eternal City with her banana-skin performance as chief bridesmaid.
Luckily, best man Nick (Duhamel) is on hand to help her out. Luckier still, he's sensitive, funny and American. Unluckily, he appears to have a girlfriend. Luckily, these things happen every day in Romcomland.
Anyway, Beth decides that love is a crock and wades into a fountain to 'free' five romantic fools by snatching their coins from beneath Venus's nose.
Immediately, she becomes the object of desire for each of the tossers: an aspiring artist (Arnett), a street magician (Heder), a sausage magnate (DeVito), and a self-obsessed model (Shepard). The remaining chip belongs to Nick.
Why a raging narcissist would invite divine help to find love is a mystery. But by a convenient twist of fate, they all live in New York, thus allowing the director to jostle them through one contrived scene to another until the mandatory 90-minute romcom running time is up.
It's all a bit of harmless froth and nonsense - as long as you're not too disturbed by the sight of DeVito chasing Bell around the Guggenheim like Benny Hill on Viagra.
Elsewhere, Angelica Huston dilutes the essence of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada as Beth's boss, Don Johnson strives to capture the essence of Jeff Bridges as her dad, and Saturday Night Live B-lister Bobby Moynihan sprays everyone in eau de Jack Black as Nick's best mate.
Curiously, the film closes on an in-joke involving Heder and his Napoleon Dynamite co-star Efren 'Pedro' Ramirez which will be completely lost on the millions who never saw it... i.e. the target audience... i.e. anyone who ever used the phrase 'OMG'.
Some might call that an own goal.