Released Feb. 13, Isn’t It Romantic was the refreshing take on the classic rom-com that was needed this Valentine’s season.
Isn’t It Romantic tells the story of Natalie (Rebel Wilson), a New York City-based architect with a ‘glass is half empty’ attitude toward life. This cynicism has remained a constant since she was a little girl, having been told by her mother that girls like her don’t get to have true love. As a result, she mocks the romantic comedies that her coworker watches, claiming that such movies spread lies and false hope.
However, when Natalie is knocked unconscious as she is mugged in the subway, she wakes up in a completely changed world. Her apartment is completely remodeled, she has a new gay best friend and men now notice her; and she begins to realize that her life has taken on all the cheesy qualities of a romantic movie.
As she tries to figure out how to get out of this alternate universe and back to her real life, a handsome and wealthy new architecture client begins to pursue her. She thinks she is supposed to get him to fall in love with her before she can go back to her old life, and they begin to date as life throws one corny rom-com scenario after another at her.
However, she eventually realizes that it wasn’t someone else who was supposed to fall in love with her; the goal all along was for her to love herself. For a movie that was supposedly mocking all the cliches of rom-coms, this heartfelt life lesson stood out, and not necessarily in a good way. The film’s strength was humor, which it achieved by poking fun at the stereotypes of romantic movies, but having a genuine moral lesson almost detracted from this.
In the end, Natalie makes it back to her real life, and realizes that she loves her friend and coworker Josh; true love was right in front of her eyes the whole time. This was another rom-com cliche that the movie followed, rather than mocked–and like the ‘love yourself’ lesson, it nearly detracted from the humor of the rest of the movie.
However, there’s much to be said for Wilson’s portrayal of Natalie. Wilson was perfect for the role, proving herself able to deliver one-liners and keep the humor alive throughout the film. It was refreshing to see someone in a starring role who broke the traditional mold of the rom-com queen, and instead showed the audience that you don’t need to be thin, rich and perfect to find love in the modern world.
Overall, Isn’t It Romantic fell into the trap of the very cliches it was trying to mock, but well-timed wit and a winning performance by Rebel Wilson earned this movie ⅗ stars.