ISN'T IT ROMANTIC (NETFLIX) (2019)
SYNOPSIS: New York City architect Natalie (Rebel Wilson) works hard to get noticed at her job but is more likely to be asked to deliver coffee and bagels than to design the city’s next skyscraper. And if things weren’t bad enough, Natalie, a lifelong cynic when it comes to love, has an encounter with a mugger that renders her unconscious, waking to discover that her life has suddenly become her worst nightmare—a romantic comedy—and she is the leading lady.
Produced by and starring Rebel Wilson more well-known as Fat Amy from the Pitch Perfect series, Isn’t It Romantic satires and pokes fun at the romantic genre but fails to get away from it in the end. Kind of a missed opportunity to delve into something deeper. Still, it’s an enjoyable PG13 comedy if you yearn for a slightly different rom-com.
Being raised as someone who doesn’t believe in love and happy endings, Natalie (Wilson) leads a cynical life as an architect in New York City and stays in a disheveled tiny apartment with fellow colleague Josh (Adam DeVine) and assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin) as her best friends. When a mugging incident in a subway station left her waking up in an alternate NYC whereby it smells liked lavender and everything works and looked like a romantic comedy, Natalie finds that a suave billionaire Blake (Liam Hemsworth) has fallen in love with her and her creepy neighbor, Donny (Brandon Scott Jones) has become her gay best friend.
Will Natalie be able to get back to the “real” world or chose to stay happily ever after in a perfect and nice NYC with Blake?
For the first hour or so, Isn’t It Romantic set off a series of fun jabs at all the rom-com tropes and clichés which audiences are familiar with. From the crazy makeover of her apartment and closet to Blake writing down his number on flower petals to Blake taking her for a cruise and dinner, treating her to dessert at an ice-cream parlour and kissing in the middle of the road. It’s often ticklish and witty all thanks to Wilson’s perfect comic timing and chemistry with fellow Aussie, Liam Hemsworth.
Then it starts to spiral down when Isn’t It Romantic begins to turn into the movies which it mercilessly pokes fun of for the past hour. You know the part when you realized your best friend is actually the one you should be with rather than the person he or she is just about to get marry to and a whole of other mumbo jumbo about loving yourself. At least director Todd Strauss-Schulson is smart enough to wrap up everything in less than 90 minutes before it gets worse and predictive.
Except for a theatrical release in the US and Canada, Isn’t It Romantic is strangely relegated to current streaming giant, Netflix in the rest of the world despite featuring both a handsome cast and production values. Overall, this is the kind of enjoyable romantic comedy that is good for at least a single watch with Wilson’s self-deprecating humor and a truckload full of cringy love songs to entertain your other half.
Review by Linus Tee