Review: Isn't It Romantic

Isn't It Romantic
6 10

isn't it romantic banner, liam hemsworth, rebel wilsonPLOT: An unlucky in love New Yorker (Rebel Wilson), with a hatred of rom-coms, gets hit on the head and wakes up to find herself in the middle of a clichéd rom-com where she’s pursued by a handsome playboy (Luke Hemsworth).

REVIEW: ISN’T IT ROMANTIC does for rom-coms what THE FINAL GIRLS did for slasher flicks. No surprise there as they both come from director Todd Strauss-Schulson, who goes for a loving send-up of a genre that, increasingly, has become an endangered species on the big screen. Audiences tend to prefer watching these date movies in the comfort of their own home, a far cry from when a big-screen rom-com was guaranteed box office, especially if released around a popular date night like Valentine’s Day. The genre is so rare on the big screen these days that ISN’T IT ROMANTIC is actually only going theatrical in North America, with international markets getting it on Netflix February 28th.

To be sure though, this isn’t your average romance. From the first frame, the genre is mocked, with the younger version of Rebel Wilson’s character being lectured by her mum (a cameoing Jennifer Saunders) about how life doesn’t measure up to PRETTY WOMAN. From there though, even before we get zapped into the zany rom-com world, Wilson’s Natalie seems to be living one. She’s lonely but also blind to the nice guy who works at her architecture firm (Adam Devine) even though they’re clearly meant for each other. She also has the supportive best pal (“Glow”’s Betty Gilpin) and a cute dog (which I believe may be the same dog from WIDOWS and GAME NIGHT), and all-around an OK life.

Up to this point, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC plays like a decent example of the genre, but once she gets knocked on the head and we get into the meta version the film turns into a pretty fun spoof. While it’s never laugh-a-minute (more like modest chuckle a minute), there are some fun digs at rom-coms, such as Natalie now being incapable of saying the F-word, no sex at all (being PG-13) and best of all, a crazy stereotypical gay best friend who’s somewhere between Rupert Everett in MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING and the late Meshach Taylor’s immortal Hollywood from MANNEQUIN.

rebel wilson, adam devine, isn't it romantic, liam hemsworthWhile Brandon Scott Jones all but walks away with the movie playing the stereotypical Donny, Liam Hemsworth shows off decent comic chops as the hunky millionaire smitten (or as likes to say “beguiled”) with our heroine. It’s maybe the most appealing he’s ever been. Wilson also seems to be having fun in what must be a tailor-made part, while Gilpin seems like a future star herself as the mousy assistant turned venomous baddie once we’re zapped into rom-com land (the film notes that women co-workers in these films are rarely presented as friends – a well-founded criticism).

At eighty-eight minutes, Strauss-Schulson smartly knows just how long the satire can last, although certain things keep this from being a total winner. For one, it’s hard to invest in Wilson and Devine eventually hooking up, as we really never get a real sense of chemistry between them and seems added to string out the running time, as do the not one but two sing-along musical numbers (it’s daring using Witney Houston so soon after TONI ERDMANN). Nevertheless, this is a fun Valentine’s Day diversion, and worth seeing even if you hate the genre – especially if you’re in one of the territories this going straight to Netflix.

Source: JoBlo.com



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