Film Review - Isn't It Romantic

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Rebel Wilson in a scene from “Isn’t It Romantic.”

“Isn’t It Romantic” might be the first film to successfully please both those who despise romantic comedies and those who love them. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson describes his new film as “a romantic comedy about falling in love with yourself.” The script simultaneously makes fun of every popular romantic comedy of the past 20 years while pointing out the dangerous message this type of film sends. “Isn’t It Romantic” is Rebel Wilson’s first leading role and she is wonderful in it. It’s got more authentic laughs than you might expect, leaning heavily on sarcasm. “Isn’t it Romantic” is even more enjoyable if you know the movies this film is spoofing, but just being familiar with rom-com tropes will still make for an enjoyable experience.

Natalie (Wilson) works at a New York architecture firm. A realist, she understands that because of her size, looks and social status, she will never be like the women in movies who live happily ever after. Even though her co-worker Josh (Adam Devine) pays her constant attention and asks her out repeatedly, she brushes him off. On her way home from work one evening, Natalie is mugged and hits her head. When she wakes up, she realizes to her horror, that’s she is now living in a romantic comedy. She freaks out at first but slowly begins to realize the value gained in being adored. New York no longer smells like a sweaty armpit, instead, there are spring flowers everywhere. “Things are supposed to be better, but this is way worse,” Natalie decides after a few days, contemplating the value of the ordinary.

A quotable screenplay, hilarious dance numbers and most importantly a worthwhile message that in order to love someone else we must first love ourselves. For far too long romantic comedies have projected an unrealistic view of romance that is depressing for those who might compare it with their lives in the real world. “Isn’t It Romantic” shames the genre’s outdated golden message that women can’t be happy unless they are in a relationship, with one of self-worth and importance. It’s a glorious change of pace. The message “Isn’t It Romantic” leaves you with is more potent than the clever comedy of the film.

Each scene, character and plot device is taken directly from popular romantic comedies like “When Harry Met Sally,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” or “Shallow Hal.” The script also points out how romantic comedies tend to pit women against each other and stereotype LGBT characters. For some “Isn’t It Romantic” will open their eyes to why many critics have continuously panned rom-coms for decades. “Isn’t It Romantic” isn’t all cynicism though, there are moments of genuine sincerity and romance; so even those who love a good predictable ending will get their money’s worth.

Final Thought – “Isn’t It Romantic” takes a alternate look at the romantic comedy genre, unveiling an important message for it’s dedicated fans.

Dustin Chase is a film critic and associate editor with Texas Art & Film, which is based in Galveston. Visit texasartfilm.com.

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