Movie Review Monday: Isn't It Romantic
Several new theatrical releases always seem to accompany Valentine’s Day weekend, and this past weekend was no exception. Isn’t It Romantic, a satirical comedy, made its theatrical debut on February 13th. The film was directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and written by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, and Katie Silberman. The story follows a woman named Natalie who finds romantic comedies unrealistic but soon finds herself trapped in one. The film stars Rebel Wilson as Natalie and Liam Hemsworth as Blake, a love interest in the film. The film’s cast also includes Adam DeVine, Priyanka Chopra, Betty Gilpin, Brandon Scott Jones, and Tom Ellis.
The film begins with Natalie as a young girl in Australia excitedly watching Pretty Woman. Her mother soon informs her that these stories are all unrealistic and that Natalie will never experience a story like that. The story then fast forwards to Natalie as an adult living in New York. Her apartment is small and untidy, and while she is an architect, she is virtually ignored by everyone there except for her assistant, Whitney, and her best friend, Josh. Whitney has a habit of watching sappy romantic comedies on her computer throughout the day, which leads Natalie to debunk all of the tropes that accompany the genre. However, after Natalie is mugged on the subway, she wakes up to a glorified version of New York and finds herself stuck in the type of story she hates.
As someone who has seen way too many romantic comedies and often finds them too formulaic, I thought that Isn’t It Romantic was incredibly charming. It might not have an abundance of huge, laugh out loud moments, but the film is consistently funny. It kept me and the entire audience quietly chuckling as the story progressed, and it somehow managed to follow the same type of story beats that the movie is mocking. It does not just follow the common story tropes of the genre, but it also mimics the cinematography and musical selections often found in this genre. This movie is complete with dance numbers, wide sweeping shots of New York, and helicopter rides, which all add to the ridiculous and fantastical nature of this satire.
The way the filmmakers handle all of these good-natured pokes at romantic comedies is the highlight of the film, but it is also substantiated by some solid performances and a positive character arc for Natalie. Rebel Wilson is quite funny in this film, and she pulls off well the part of a cynical and reluctant leading lady. Her navigation through the sanitized rom-com world is remarkably entertaining and informative for her character, which leads to a heartwarming final realization. She also completely nails one of the best and most realistic slow-motion running sequences I’ve ever seen. Liam Hemsworth is quite funny as the hot, rich leading man, and Priyanka Chopra shows off her comedic chops here as well. Unsurprisingly, Adam DeVine nails the part of the supportive best friend, and all of his scenes with Priyanka Chopra are a hit.
Overall, I would say that Isn’t It Romantic was kind of the perfect movie for the week of Valentine’s Day. It is a cleverly written film, and it ends up being the perfect guilty pleasure for all romantic comedy lovers. It will leave you chuckling in your seat, and the PG-13 setting makes it all the more hilarious. For anyone who enjoys a fun, satirical comedy, I would say that Isn’t It Romantic is worth a watch in theaters, but be prepared to never feel the same about the word “beguiling” afterward.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.