Written by Tom Moore
While she’s usually seen just outside of the spotlight, Rebel Wilson completely owns it with a confidently funny performance in Isn’t It Romantic, which tackles the ins and outs of rom-coms.
Wilson plays Natalie, a woman who lacks self-confidence, doesn’t believe in love, and worst of all, hates romantic comedies. So, it’s only fitting–and ironic–that after she is knocked unconscious after almost getting mugged, Natalie finds that her life has now become the very films that she despises. She has a handsome man (Liam Hemsworth) that vies for her affection, a very stereotypical gay best friend (Brandon Scott Jones), and an inner voice that tries to point her in the right direction.In order for Natalie to escape, she must figure out how she can find true love before she is stuck in this world.
Wilson is a perfect guide through the world of rom-coms, with her performance highlighting her ability to bring laughs with her psychical comedy and solid line deliveries as well as Natalie’s more closed-off personality.Often times, Wilson is usually seen as a quirky/weird side character, so seeing her in the lead role is not only refreshing for her as an actress, but also shows that she can definitely hold her own. Not to mention, Wilson gets to reunite with fellow Pitch Perfect alum, Adam Devine, to drum up some funny lines as well as romantic chemistry that’s tough not to love.
She also gets to be the viewers’ guide through the more self-aware moments, which unfortunately felt a little off-kilter at times. The film’s more meta moments are sometimes a little too on-the-nose and preachy and will leave viewers thinking, “Ok, I get it.” Even with these moments, though, there’s some major credit that has to be given to director Todd Strauss-Schulson for adding in some more subtle, self-aware moments.
Seeing maps of New York City shaped like hearts, having Vanessa Carlton’s “Thousand Miles” kick in from time to time, and having some fun musical numbers really brought out the rom-com vibes. There’s also a strong use of bright colors that both distinctly contrasts the drabber colors of the real world and creates a fantasy world that I would say both perfectly defines the look of a rom-com and is incredible to look at.
Some deserving credit also goes the writers, (Dana Fox, Erin Cardillo and Katie Silberman) as there were plenty of moments that made me laugh just because of how self-aware some of the lines even are.It’s an incredibly clever way to be more subtly meta without having the film calling it out itself.
Of everything self-aware the film brings, the only place I found it lacking was with the film’s finale.In the early moments of viewers learning about Natalie, she basically goes on a rant on why rom-coms are toxic for women and how they are so unrealistic.While we get to see how the experience of being stuck in one gave her more personal growth and a moment of self-reflection, we never really get to see Natalie rethink the genre as a whole.It’s kind of strange for the film to just rag on the genre without saying what Natalie thinks about it after her experience—especially because the film’s finale made me realize why I love them.
Seeing the endearing, while also totally obvious, ending with Devine’s Josh and Natalie is completely genuine and is done so well that it’s bound to make your heart melt a little.Perhaps it was intended for me to have my own self reflection on why I like the genre, but it just feels odd to have the main character outwardly say what she hates about the genre without doing the same for what she learns—even if she didn’t learn anything at all.
Either way, Isn’t it Romantic perfectly showcases the hilarious flaws and triumphs that rom-coms can bring while being a great rom-com itself. Hopefully, Wilson will find herself in the spotlight soon as she’s definitely earns it here and, maybe, get more credit for the funny, charming, and endearing leading lady that she can be.