Movie Review: “Isn’t It Romantic”
Isn’t It Romantic
When she was a child, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) had a small obsession with romantic comedies, but her mother told her that stories like those were not for ugly girls like the two of them. Her mother shattered this fantasy for her and now, Natalie lives in a dump of a New York City apartment. She is an architect, but no one respects her at work and she frequently finds herself being taken advantage of in the workplace. Her assistant (Betty Gilpin) loves romantic comedies, but Natalie is very open about her opinions of those movies and has no problem stating everything that she hates about them.
When someone tries to rob her in the subway, Natalie suffers a severe head injury. When she wakes up, she finds herself in the middle of her worst nightmare, a PG-13 romantic comedy. She cannot swear, she cannot experience “love“ scenes, and she is surrounded by every stereotype from the film genre that she despises. With seemingly no escape, Natalie decides that the only way out is to go along with it until the “story” is complete. Thus, despite hating this to her core, she sets out to find true love.
The Pros & Cons
The Premise (+4pts)
The Execition (-8pts)
Rebel Wilson (+5pts)
Adam Devine (+3pts)
The Realization (-3pts)
Pro: The Premise (+4pts)
This movie had an interesting premise. It was a romantic comedy where the main character was aware she was in a romantic comedy and hated it. It was an interesting idea, and had the potential of being very entertaining. The romantic comedy genre has become very predictable and stale, so I was excited to see a movie that aimed to challenge what it meant to be a romantic comedy. This premise got me interested in the movie, and (along with the assist from Rebel Wilson) provided most of the film’s comedy. You cannot ask for much more than that from a movie’s premise.
Con: The Execution (-8pts)
I enjoyed the premise, but the execution of that premise was very poor. The movie was everything it was making fun of, when it could have been so much more. It had the opportunity to go in a very different direction than most movies in its genre and had the opportunity to break the mold of what it means to be a romantic comedy. Most importantly, it had the opportunity of doing both of these things in a really clever and comedically entertaining way.
The filmmakers made fun of the stereotypes that have plagued the genre, but they did not do anything different. Instead the filmmakers decided to deliver a movie that fit into every single one of the stereotypes that they were making fun of. This made the movie feel like a cheap parody of itself in a lot of ways. With this premise, the filmmakers had the opportunity to make a game changer that revitalized the genre, but instead they delivered a movie that was everything that their own main character said was stupid.
Pro: Rebel Wilson (+5pts)
I thought Rebel Wilson was a decent choice for this movie. I think she is better as a side character than when she is a main character, because as a main character her focus needs to be on moving the plot forward and playing into the drama of the story (as opposed to just being able to be funny). Some of her jokes certainly landed better than others, but I cannot think of an actress who would have been better suited for this role. Was she as funny in this movie as she was in other comedies? No but, like I said, that was due to her being the main character. There were not any hard, laugh out loud, comedic moments, but Rebel Wilson kept me chuckling (at the very least) throughout the movie.
Con: Predictable (-6pts)
This was kind of a side effect of the movie fitting into every romantic comedy stereotype, but the movie was severely predictable. From the moment Natalie got knocked out, I knew exactly how the entire movie would play out. I do not want to break it down just in case someone is reading this who has never seen a romantic comedy, but it was really easy to see where this story was going. I knew exactly who she would fall in love with, I knew how the major plot points would go in both the dream storyline and I knew how the major plot points would go in the real storyline. The filmmakers attempted to throw in a twist at the end (which I will get into later), but it was not enough of a twist to make the movie feel unpredictable or different. Again, this was kind of a side effect of the movie fitting into all stereotypes from romantic comedies, but the predictable nature of this story made it pretty boring in a few areas and definitely made it worth mentioning.
Pro: Adam Devine (+3pts)
I know some people who do not like Adam Devine’s style of comedy, but I think he is pretty funny. However, much like Rebel Wilson, I think he shines when he is not in a primary role. In other words, he shines when his character does not need to focus on drama. I think he does a fine job in the dramatic scenes, but he definitely was not as funny as I know he can be, which I think is a result of this character being a mostly dramatic character that needed to be taken seriously. Make no mistake, the guy is funny and I still found him to be entertaining in this movie. I just felt like his character could have been a lot funnier had the filmmakers handled him properly. Fortunately, Adam Devine did a good job and was able to make this character both entertaining and likable.
Con: The Realization (-3pts)
Toward the end of the story, the writers had Natalie make a realization about who she needs to love. This realization was clearly intended as a way for the movie to go in a different direction than your typical romantic comedy. It was supposed to be this big moment, but I thought it severely missed its mark. I wanted this movie to do something different, but this realization was not set up at all. It sort of just came out of nowhere, and it felt like the filmmakers thought of it at the last minute. The whole movie built toward one thing, then Natalie makes a realization that takes her (emotionally) somewhere different. The realization was a good idea, but it felt completely unjustified by the entire rest of the movie, so I really did not care about it (as I was clearly intended to).
Grade: C- (70pts)
Isn’t It Romantic had a premise that interested me. It was a romantic comedy with the potential of being very unique, through poking fun at the genre’s stereotypes while setting itself apart from them. Unfortunately, that is not what the filmmakers did. Yes, they poked fun at all of the genre’s stereotypes, but they did so while being exactly what they were making fun of.
Both Rebel Wilson and Adam Devine were funny, but I felt like their comedic talents were held back by playing characters who needed to focus on the plot and the drama. The main character also made a realization at the end of the movie that was clearly the filmmakers’ attempt at being different, but it felt completely unjustified by the rest of the movie. If you really like romantic comedies, you will probably get some laughs out of this movie, but it is nothing special. Again, the premise was a good idea, but the filmmakers executed it in a way that felt like a huge missed opportunity.