Movie ReviewsIsn’t It Romantic – A Sharp Meta Romantic Comedy

Keith NoakesFebruary 14, 2019

Yes it is and so much more.

Synopsis: New York City architect Natalie works hard to get noticed at her job but is more likely to be asked to deliver coffee and bagels than to design the city’s next skyscraper. And if things weren’t bad enough, Natalie, a lifelong cynic when it comes to love, has an encounter with a mugger that renders her unconscious, waking to discover that her life has suddenly become her worst nightmare—a romantic comedy—and she is the leading lady. (Warner Bros.)

Starring: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, and Adam Devine

Writers: Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, and Katie Silberman

Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson

Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 88mins


Finally a film for people who don’t like romantic comedies and it’s also a romantic comedy! Now everybody knows that romantic comedies can often be silly and unrealistic to most viewers but the main reason why they have been as successful as they have is because they are an escape and a fantasy for viewers. What Isn’t It Romantic does so well as it is that escape and fantasy all while turning the genre of romantic comedy on its head in smart and often hilarious ways. While may be a romantic comedy, it’s a self-aware one which sort of is the best kind anyway.

The story was about a New York City architect named Natalie (Wilson) who had a disdain for romantic comedies. Perhaps this disdain came from a resentment of their main characters. While they may have shared plenty of similarities on paper, in reality their lives were much different from each other once reality is factored in. Over time, this only made her more cynical about love. After a freak incident rendered her unconscious, Natalie would wake up to discover that she had been transported into a romantic comedy where she was the lead.

Despite now living in a seemingly better life than she had before, Natalie’s cynicism only made her suspicious of everything that was happening to and around her. This cynicism made her question this new reality, exposing it for how ridiculous it truly was. This commentary both before and after was hilarious more often than not. However, regardless of what she thought about her new reality, she would have to find a way through it in order to get back to her true reality. This would mean having to play out the derivative romantic comedy plot that was set out for her, finding herself in the middle of a love triangle with a man named Blake (Hemsworth) and her best friend Josh (Devine).

Watching Natalie try to overcome her predicament was compelling. Through her predicament, she would get to experience all the various clichés and tropes we’ve come to expect from romantic comedies. While this technically made the story predictable, it would also make it fun to watch because of it. Also just like some romantic comedies, the film would feature plenty of ridiculously over-the-top musical numbers which were also entertaining to watch. Considering the subject matter, the ending may have been predictable but this didn’t make it any less satisfying.

Other than the sharp script and direction, the best part of the film had to be Wilson’s excellent performance as Natalie. With the right material, Wilson is one of the best comedic actresses working today. This was the case here as it is hard to imagine anyone else in the role than her. Wilson was hilarious and her charm and impeccable comedic timing made her a delight to watch. Perhaps not known for comedies, Hemsworth was impressive as Blake, showing plenty of charm (which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise) and comedic timing of his own. Plus, he had great chemistry with Wilson (coincidentally both Australians) which made them fun to watch. Devine was also solid as Josh while having great chemistry of his own with Wilson.

Overall, Isn’t It Romantic was an excellent romantic comedy that ironically serves as a sharp satire of romantic comedies, playing with its many clichés and tropes in entertaining and hilarious ways more often than not. Sure, it’s over far too quickly and could have gone further with its commentary but at the end of the day, is a welcome surprise that both fans and non-fans of romantic comedies should enjoy.

Score: 9.5/10

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