Isn't It Romantic Becomes What It Denies

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Isn't It Romantic BD

ISN'T IT ROMANTIC is an entertaining rom-com that sets out to prove all rom-coms are fomulaic drivel -- and quickly becomes formulaic.

Not that this is a bad thing. Formulas work, and attempting to subvert audience expectations is a tricky business that is more risk than reward. Formula brings people back. I watch every Hallmark Channel Christmas movie with my wife, and within the first fifteen minutes have written the ending, and that still doesn't stop her from watching each and every one of them.

In this film, we meet Natalie (REBEL WILSON) who from a young age has been told by her mother that happy endings don't happen for girls like them. Believing this, Nat has grown up to be mildly successful as an architect but without her own voice and a lack of respect from her own employees. When discussing romantic comedies with her assistant, she ticks off a lengthy laundry list of items that are everything she feels is wrong with them.

But after Nat is mugged and runs headlong into a metal pole, she awakens in an ER that is more 5-star hotel than medical center, to a doctor who is chisled right out of a soap opera. Oh, and she's in full hair and makeup, and they've replaced her ruined clothes with items from their lost and found -- apparently having been lost by Vera Wang.

It doesn't take Nat long to discover that she has awakened in a parallel reality where everything goes perfect for her. (She'd have known this if she'd watched CHRISTMAS SWITCH with Nicole Eggert!) Soon she encounters her firm's wealthy client, Blake (LIAM HEMSWORTH), who finds Natalie "beguiling" and strikes up an over-the-top romantic relationship with her. Natalie is sure that if she gets Blake to fall in love with her, she'll make her way back to the real world. Much to her chagrin, however, she's trapped in a PG-13 rom-com, so her F-bombs get overriden by well-timed noise, and any attempts at sex are fast-forwarded to the afterglow. (To prove she's back in the real world at the end, she does manage to drop a couple F-bombs -- and yet ISN'T IT ROMANTIC retains its PG-13 rating, so go figure that one out.)

Realizing the problem is deeper than she first thought, Nat comes to the conclusion that her real romantic partner was meant to be her co-worker, Josh (ANDY DEVINE). However, as she takes a walk with Josh and begins to open up to him, he meets up with Isabella (PRIYANKA CHOPRA), and the two make an immediate connect that fast-tracks to a wedding.

While the film tries to convey a lesson about loving oneself, it becomes the thing it parodies, despite Natalie's newfound self-assurance and assertiveness. The two musical numbers were a mixed bag, with the finale being much better than the former. The should have both been knockouts given Wilson's vocal chops demonstrated in PITCH PERFECT.

Overall, if you're looking to watch your typical romantic comedy, ISN'T IT ROMANTIC lines up to the formula in all respects.

3.5 / 5.0