Isn’t It Romantic

Review by Rich Cline | 2.5/5

Isn't It Romantic
dir Todd Strauss-Schulson
scr Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, Katie Silberman
prd Todd Garner, Gina Matthews, Grant Scharbo
with Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine, Priyanka Chopra, Betty Gilpin, Brandon Scott Jones, Jennifer Saunders, Alexandra Kis, Jay Oakerson, Michelle Buteau, Tom Ellis, Esteban Benito
release US/UK 14.Feb.19
19/US Netflix 1h28

hemsworth gilpin saunders

Isn't It Romantic
The point of this project was clearly to recapture the Pitch Perfect chemistry between Rebel Wilson and Andy Devine. And its high concept couldn't be much simpler, as the script plays loosely and freely with movie stereotypes like a goofy variation on last year's I Feel Pretty. It's far too simplistic to be a classic, but it's decent as a bit of escapist fun.
Growing up in Australia, Natalie (Kis) was taught by her mother (Saunders) not to expect anything from love. Now living in New York, Natalie (now Wilson) feels invisible in her architecture firm, where she has a crush on hot client Blake (Hemsworth). But her colleague Josh (Devine) feels invisible in her presence, while romcom-addicted coworker Whitney (Gilpin) points out that Natalie is friend-zoning Josh. Then after being mugged, Natalie wakes up to a life that's a perpetual, full-on romantic comedy, and she decides the only way out is to fall in love with Blake.
Wilson gets a terrific tirade about the toxic cliches in movie romances, from how women always need to fight each other to the gay best friend (Jones). Then enter supermodel Isabella (Chopra) to turn Josh's head and set the plot conflict into motion. As Natalie's life transforms into a wildly heightened version of one of these films, it's fairly obvious where it will be heading. Thankfully, the writers and director give the dialog an improvised tone that's amusing, taking the edge off of the ridiculous candy-coloured fantasy.

Wilson is enjoyable as the only person who notices that she's in some sort of idyllic parallel universe. She constantly rolls her eyes at how stupid everything is, before diving headlong into the schmaltz. Yes, where this is heading isn't remotely surprising, complete with the expected self-empowering message. At least Wilson has some fun with it, bouncing enjoyably off the stiff versions of the other paper-thin characters. The real-world versions are a bit more interesting.

The script is packed with witty touches, but nothing can divert attention from the predictability of the story. This makes it difficult to get involved in the corny romantic entanglements as it ticks through each of the cheesy set-pieces while trying valiantly (but pointlessly) to crank up the requisite sentimentality. But at least it's mindlessly enjoyable, including a couple of massive musical dance sequences. And such is the power of the genre that we are powerless to resist even its most appallingly sappy moments.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 13.Feb.19

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S

send your review to Shadows... Isn't It Romantic Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.

© 2019 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall