I’m all for movies that call out the inherent stupidity of romance comedies, and how we can often lose sight of reality if we spend too much time lost in fantasy and Hollywood manufactured clichés. “Isn’t It Romantic” is a confused comedy though, that can ironically be identified as a romantic comedy, even though it purports to be a movie that tears the whole illusion of Hollywood romantic comedies down all around us. It never seems to know if it’s endorsing the idea of romantic comedies, or still spoofing them. The results are a mediocre, flat, albeit occasionally charming film.
Rebel Wilson plays New York City architect Natalie, a meek girl 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. Natalie, a lifelong cynic when it comes to love, has an encounter with a mugger in a subway that renders her unconscious. She wakes up in a hospital to discover that her life has suddenly become her worst nightmare — a glossy Hollywood romantic comedy — and she is the leading lady.
By the end of “Isn’t It Romantic” I was struggling to figure out what the writers were trying to say to the audience. Is self love more important than finding true love? Is true love only a façade? Is it possible that there’s no such thing as the ideal love except for self love, but if you want to find true love that’s–okay too–because true love is great…? Anyone…? “Isn’t It Romantic” sure enough, starts off pretty well with some cute nods and winks to the often brainless clichés of average romance comedies, but by the time the second half rolls around it drops the ball. It makes nothing of Natalie’s assistant becoming her cliché workplace rival, and almost seems to defend the clichés by the time the credits roll. The script tends to think it’s clever by inevitably embracing the tropes it mocks in the final half, and completely loses focus of whatever intention it had.
The screenplay just ends up lending credence (intentional or not) to the premise that romance comedies are not brainless fantasy, but quite possible depending on your perspective. It’s antithetical to what the movie purports to say about finding purpose in self love, rather than finding someone to validate you through convenient circumstances. Rebel Wilson is adorable, but the script completely wastes the often hilarious Adam Devine with a predictable romance, and co-stars Betty Gilpin, and Jennifer Saunders. The script also never examines the deeper ideas behind why Natalie was discouraged by her mother at a young age. “Isn’t It Romantic” strives to satirize the romance comedy but in the end, it’s about as mediocre and bland as typical Hollywood fodder we usually find. It’s disappointing as there could be a lot of creative room to put the sub-genre under the microscope.
The new release comes with a DVD and Digital Copy. There are a group of deleted and extended scenes that don’t contribute or take away from the movie, and there’s the featurette “I Wanna Dance!” which discusses the film’s pair of musical numbers and how the cast prepared and rehearsed for them.