By Amani Salahudeen
Romantic comedies have always been both a guilty pleasure and a joyful medium for me to poke fun at, and the new movie “Isn’t it Romantic?” has only reinforced this relationship.
Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is an ambitious Australian architect who has despised rom-coms ever since she was a kid, when her mom (Jennifer Saunders) told her that plus-sized women will never have the chance to pursue the lifestyles that the typical female protagonist in those films so often depict.
Although Natalie is clearly hardworking, she constantly feels a lack of appreciation for her efforts, specifically from her boss, Blake (Liam Hemsworth), who is notorious for treating her poorly. She begins to accept that she won’t be living the kind of lifestyle she dreams about — how could her fantasies come true when the world seems to conspire against her?
Although she may have valid reasons to hate Blake, Natalie doesn’t seem to dwell on that negativity, especially since she describes him as being “CW Hot.” Natalie is so caught up in her own thoughts that she doesn’t realize the way her co-worker, Josh (Adam Devine), sees her. (Will that potential crush bloom the same way it does in every rom-com film? You’ll have to watch and find out).
Work, and her hot boss are the only thing on Natalie’s mind, until one night when she hits her head on a pole while running away from a mugger. Natalie suddenly finds herself living in a PG-13 movie where she has a gay best friend named Donny (Brandon Scott Jones), a nicer version of her friend Whitney (Betty Gilpin) and a version of Josh who is entranced by a woman named Isabella (Priyanka Chopra Jonas). There are dance numbers and love galore in this new world, all of which are exactly like everything Natalie expressed such hated for in the beginning of the movie.
As a comedy, the movie is pretty decent, but as far as the plot goes, I’ve seen better. While it mocks the cliche rom-com tropes, it still risks becoming one itself.
As a satire, the movie should have focused more on comedy and less on cheesy romances and heartfelt takeaways. It tries to debunk the stereotypes surrounding rom-coms, like the commonly-believed idea that women in a workplace can’t be friends, but it doesn’t do much to really make it hit home. The film’s main theme, “believe in yourself,” is cute but overused. I’ve seen the same message delivered more creatively in films such as, “Shrek” and “Wreck-It-Ralph.”
This is not to say that you won’t enjoy “Isn’t It Romantic,” but it’s definitely one of those movies you just need to see for yourself in order to figure out if you really like it or not. Parts of the film were too cringy for my liking, but I have to admit that as a comedy, I enjoyed it.