Cast: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine, Priyanka Chopra
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
It’s that time of year. Valentine’s Day weekend always gives us a rom-com or romantic drama that women will drag their boyfriends and husbands to go see and this year’s iteration is Isn’t It Romantic. Considering that we’ve had to suffer through the Fifty Shades series over the last few years, there aren’t too many ways for these movies to get worse so as long as we get something that’s not horrific, we should be ok. As for Isn’t It Romantic, I’m pleased to see that I’ve seen a lot worse from movies that come out around this time, so I appreciate the film for not being terrible. While still pretty for what it sets out to be, the meta humor helps make Isn’t It Romantic an enjoyable, slightly above-average rom-com.
The film follows Natalie (Wilson), an architect living in New York who believes rom-coms are ridiculous due to the formulaic outline that almost all of them use. After she hits her head while being mugged, she wakes up to find herself in a PG-13 rom-com and needs to figure out how to get out of this world. The one thing that makes this film even remotely work is the fact that it’s incredibly aware of itself and the formula that’s usually attached to these films. While at many points the film uses these clichés as part of the plot, the fact that it can at least make fun of itself and the stereotypes movies like these constantly use makes the blow not nearly as bad. Wilson is the one who embraces these moments the most as much of her dialogue and actions showcase the issues that these movies traditionally have while simultaneously doing the exact same thing here. It can be funny at times and Wilson’s comedy is usually hit-or-miss depending on what film’s she in, but in this one she is fine. There are a couple of stereotypes these movies usually use that I absolutely despise and one of them is very prevalent in this movie. One of the points Natalie makes is that she can never get an attractive man to fall in love with her since she isn’t conventionally attractive. While she’s chasing after Blake (Hemsworth), an attractive client of hers, she completely ignores Josh (Devine), her co-worker that’s attracted to her. The issue I have with these movies is not that the protagonist wants anyone to fall in love with them, it’s that they want the hottest guys on the planet and won’t accept anything else. I wish they would show Natalie falling in love that with someone who looks closer to her body type, because the physical drop off from Hemsworth to Devine isn’t exactly extreme. Maybe I’m just reading too much into this, but it’s always annoyed be that the female protagonists in movies like this refuse to take any sort of positive action to achieve their goals and rely on things like magic and wishes to get what they want. In reality, if you want to achieve something, you need to actively make positive changes in yourself and eventually things will start to turn around. These movies don’t promote that type of message at all and for a movie that’s constantly making fun of these stereotypes, it never even starts to think about this one.
Overall, this movie knows what’s doing and who it’s getting money from. You’ll probably know ahead of time if you need to sit this one out based on your personal preferences, but for those of you on the fence, it isn’t that bad. Filled with some nice moments and definitely not one of the worst movies I’ve seen this year, this is about as average as I was expecting and not the horrific experience I was dreading, so Isn’t It Romantic can claim a small victory there.
Overall Score: 5.5/10