Isn’t It Romantic, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson (A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas), is a romantic comedy following a girl who hits her head and wakes up in a world where everything is an actual romantic comedy.
Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is an architect whose colleagues treat her terribly and hates romance, especially in movies. As she is in the process of stopping a mugger, she hits her head in a subway station and wakes up to find herself in a flowery world of romance in NYC where the air smells clean and everything is shiny and fresh and it’s all cupcakes and adorable meet-cutes.
One such special encounter occurs when Natalie is almost hit by a limousine and out jumps her firm’s playboy client Blake (Liam Hemsworth) who is immediately smitten by her beguiling personality. Her best friend at work, Josh (Adam DeVine), also experiences his own chance meeting with a woman who is both a yoga ambassador and swimsuit model (Priyanka Chopra). Before this, it had never occurred to Natalie that Josh has been infatuated with her all along.
The most entertaining bit of the rom-com satire plot is when Natalie eagerly tries to hook up with Blake and instead the scene cuts away, skips the sex, and finds her back asleep in bed. Time and again she struggles to “get to it” but gets edited back into bed as the PG-13 film won’t let her get the dirty deed done.
All in all, this film allows screenwriters Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox and Katie Silberman to play out their most ridiculous clichés just to mock them. The best part of this parody is watching Natalie play out her life in PG-13 and having her foul language bleeped out by street traffic and the failed efforts to hook up with Hemsworth. Another great moment is the perfectly executed karaoke scene where Natalie sings, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” in a manner so well played out that she asks Josh, “How did everyone know the choreography?”.
The film is utterly cheesy but is entertaining enough to be worth the watch because of Wilson’s performance. Her comic persona brings laughs where the script falls flat, and her one-liners are delivered with a zing. Even Hemsworth proves he’s not afraid to find the silliness in this role (like his brother Chris’ performance in 2016 Ghostbusters). What ends up being the most refreshing part of this rom-com is who Natalie chooses in the end. It takes an overdose of rom-com sap for Natalie to see what’s been there all along.