Review: 'Isn't it Romantic' mocks, celebrates rom-coms
Both a clever send-up of romantic comedies and a functioning romantic comedy itself, "Isn't it Romantic" knows its terrain well and is able to exploit the rom-com machine to maximum effect.
Director Todd Strauss-Schulson, whose previous film "The Final Girls" satirized while also celebrating slasher film clichés, understands the heightened reality, divine lighting and glorious fashions of romantic comedies. He accentuates these by opening the film in crowded, condensed, decidedly un-glamorous New York, where Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is an architect in a dreary office.
When Natalie bonks her head during a mugging — even the head bonk is a nod to the clumsy plot devices film fantasies often hinge on — she awakes to find herself living inside a romantic comedy. Her client Blake (Liam Hemsworth) suddenly becomes her adoring suitor, her neighbor Donny (Brandon Scott Jones) is her fabulous gay BFF, and she's out to stop her co-worker Josh (Adam Devine) from marrying a supermodel (Priyanka Chopra). Because Natalie realizes that she's the one who loves Josh!
There are nods to "Pretty Woman," "27 Dresses," "My Best Friend's Wedding" and plenty more here, as well as the rom-com staple of the out-of-nowhere big group sing-along. "Isn't it Romantic" is savvy enough to both laugh at and laugh with these genre tropes, and Wilson has the right edge to both sell the material while also slyly mocking it.
"Isn't it Romantic" wouldn't work unless the romance at its center was worth buying into, and Wilson and Devine (also matched in "Pitch Perfect") make a charming screen couple. "Isn't it Romantic" earns its place in the pantheon of rom-coms it loves to parody.
'Isn't it Romantic'
Rated PG-13: for language, some sexual material, and a brief drug reference
Running time: 88 minutes