Movie Reviews

‘Isn’t It Romantic’ | Film Review

Is it a true fact that men don’t like ro­man­tic come­dies? I would­n’t say so. How­ever, some find them to be un­re­al­is­tic or feel that they are rid­dled with text­book cheesi­ness. For me, the genre can be sat­is­fy­ing—if it’s well-writ­ten and the char­ac­ters ac­tu­ally have chem­istry. The best ex­am­ples come from clas­sic fa­vorites like “(500) Days of Sum­mer” or “Not­ting Hill.” But you prob­a­bly don’t want to be in Rebel Wilson’s char­ac­ter’s shoes when she’s nav­i­gat­ing her own story in the lat­est ro­mance flick of the sea­son, “Is­n’t It Ro­man­tic.”

The movie be­gins with Na­talie, an ar­chi­tect liv­ing in New York City. She does­n’t be­lieve in love af­ter what she’s been see­ing in ro­man­tic come­dies. But af­ter a head in­jury she in­curs from get­ting mugged in a sub­way, Na­talie wakes up only to dis­cover that she is ac­tu­ally in­side a PG-13 rom-com where nearly every cliché comes to ex­ist.

Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth in Isn't It Romantic (2019)

From the looks of it, the lat­est satir­i­cal rom-com was go­ing to be tak­ing all of those tropes that have been known to be placed in these types of movies in a way that’s sup­posed to be meta. There was just this feel­ing that “Is­n’t It Ro­man­tic was ei­ther go­ing to be charm­ing, or had the chance to be sim­i­lar to last year’s “I Feel Pretty,” in a more painful fash­ion. Thank­fully, it’s the for­mer since this was thor­oughly en­ter­tain­ing, even with me be­ing the only man in the en­tire the­ater. Not spec­tac­u­lar or any­thing, but know­ing what movie was to be ex­pected from this con­cept proved me wrong.

Wil­son has al­ways been di­vi­sive when she pops up in cer­tain roles since she kind of plays the same char­ac­ter in nearly every­thing. The Aussie comic is best known as just the sup­port­ing char­ac­ters in thePitch Per­fect” fran­chise or “How to Be Sin­gle.” Here, she fi­nally gets to be the lead, and this is per­haps the best per­for­mance she has put out. Na­talie is ac­tu­ally smart, try­ing to quickly re­al­ize every­thing does­n’t seem nor­mal for a sin­gle sec­ond; Wil­son does­n’t have to be over-the-top ob­nox­ious. With her in the lead, it’s ba­si­cally per­fect and puts her comedic skills to use.

It’s funny be­cause the film does ad­dress the nor­mal clichés that come with these types of movies. Some of the rea­sons a lot of them don’t work is be­cause of the overuse of these tropes. For ex­am­ple, the per­fect apart­ment, falling in love with some­body they just met, help­ful ad­vice from the gay best friend (a hi­lar­i­ous Bran­don Scott Jones) who does­n’t have a job, mu­sic com­ing out of nowhere, etc. And that’s what I started to ap­pre­ci­ate later on when the story knows it’s em­brac­ing al­most every­thing, and it’s all for laughs. Even the rom-com world is pre­sented with a glossier look with every­thing bright and straight-up fancy. Even a mu­si­cal num­ber with Whit­ney Hous­ton’s “I Wanna Dance with Some­body” play­ing was­n’t dis­tract­ing.

And then you got the sup­port­ing cast that pro­vides some more en­ter­tain­ment, like Liam Hemsworth show­ing his comedic chops as Blake, a real es­tate in­vestor who finds Na­talie “be­guil­ing”; the al­ways hi­lar­i­ous Adam Devine as Josh, Na­tal­ie’s friend and co-worker who might be into her; Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Is­abella, a model/yoga am­bas­sador who finds Josh ir­re­sistible; and Betty Gilpin (“Glow”) as Whit­ney, Na­tal­ie’s best friend and as­sis­tant turned to com­pet­i­tive en­emy against her.

The script by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox and Katie Sil­ber­man does bal­ance it­self for be­ing gen­uine and tak­ing it easy. It does play it too safe and does­n’t ex­actly go fur­ther to make it even more hi­lar­i­ous, but its short 90-minute run­time is sure to make up for it.

There were some prob­lems that got in the way of things. It does come off as pre­dictable, which would­n’t bother me so much if they de­cided to change a few things up when giv­ing it a new spin. And it did start off pretty generic just had me wor­ried from the start.

If you’re not into ro­man­tic come­dies, “Is­n’t It Ro­man­tic” is­n’t go­ing to per­suade your opin­ion about them. But for me, it was a pleas­ant sur­prise that I de­cided to take a chance on. And it was even able to pro­vide a solid mes­sage that made sense. Di­rec­tor Todd Strauss-Schul­son (“The Fi­nal Girls”) clearly wanted a pretty clever movie in­spired by the clas­sics from the ’80s and ’90s that might not make you want to fall in love, but, hope­fully, gets some wor­thy laughs.

Grade: B

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