Isn’t It Romantic is the story of Natalie (Rebel Wilson) a young woman who has a relatively good life but finds herself consistently confronted with frustrations socially and professionally. After a freak accident, Natalie wakes up one morning to discover that she’s trapped inside a romantic comedy, along with all the rules, tropes, and clichés that go along with it. To escape, Natalie surmises she has to play along with the premise as much as she can.
What works in Isn’t It Romantic is the self-awareness both in the superbly sharp script by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, and Katie Silberman and from the leading talent. Wilson shines in the spotlight playing the dumbstruck, dubious audience surrogate. Her ability to point out oddities of the romantic comedy genre, and her attempts to subvert them, may sound like a repetitive gag but Wilson finds a way to keep her reactionary comedy fresh throughout the entire film. She’s assisted by longtime on-screen collaborator Adam Levine (Pitch Perfect) and Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) who both flex their comedic muscles incredibly well providing both the right amount of purposely-cheesy chemistry as well as poking fun of their own real-life typecasting.
While Isn’t It Romantic is downright laugh-out-loud funny for individuals who are well-versed in the genre of romantic comedies, those who have only casual knowledge of “the classics” may find many of the subtle jokes lost on them. Isn’t It Romantic is a treasure trove of references which include the recreation of costumes, music, sets, and even famous snippets of dialogue. While not picking up on these homages don’t detract from the plot, those in the know will likely find themselves laughing far more frequently. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson has done an excellent job of weaving in these elements to make them feel natural, at least in the context of the bizarre setup.
Isn’t It Romantic is a lovely parody that will likely be enjoyed by both super fans of romcoms, but also those painfully aware of their inherent issues, flaws, and repetitive beats. Strauss-Schulson has found a way to both honor those films and also have a great deal of fun at their expense thanks to well-crafted humor and a pitch perfect cast (sorry).
Recommended if you enjoyed: How to Be Single, Man Up, Pitch Perfect, Blockers