ISN'T IT ROMANTIC Review: 8 out of 10 (Clever Cliché Comedy )
ISN’T IT ROMANTIC is the newest (anti) rom-com film directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and written by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, and Katie Silberman. Starring Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam DeVine, and Priyanka Chopra, it follows Natalie (Wilson), an up and coming architect in New York who has grown up with a cynical view of romance. She argues with her co-workers about her own worldview that the love and fairy tale setups of romantic comedy films are ridiculous and fail to show an accurate view of the real world. Whitney and Josh (Betty Gilpin and Adam DeVine) are who co-workers who try to convince Natalie that there is some love to be found out there in the world. Natalie, unconvinced, is soon after hit on the head, and ironically wakes up in an alternate PG-13 universe where everything around her plays out exactly like a romantic comedy film. Natalie is forced to live in this new world that she both hates and delights in.
It is a creative fantasy type premise that leverages all of the rom-com clichés against itself with meta-level hilarity. For those that have seen the trailer to this film, be assured that the movie keeps its promise. Fans (and haters) of the rom-com genre will find a lot here to enjoy. The biting wit here comes from Rebel Wilson’s Natalie who is painfully self-aware of each and every rom-com trope that she is living through. These familiar conventions are pointed at, jeered at for laughs, then actually cleverly pointed right back into the film’s plot. It is some high-level genre chicanery that really works. Fans will see both some aural and visual easter eggs throughout the movie—some deft callbacks to other films. DeVine and Hemsworth are both great here as they run the ranges of romantic interest, best friend, and even villain. Brandon Scott Jones nearly steals every scen he is in as the gay sidekick Donny—in a performance that feels like he is channeling Martin Short.
ISN’T IT ROMANTIC is a romantic comedy that isn’t exactly original, but does turn the movie convention on its head for a fresh take. Rebel Wilson and Adam DeVine offer some real fun and some biting satire for a genre that has otherwise become a stale. Recommended.