Isn't it Romantic review
I've brought this up before, but I miss the days in which we received parodies in theaters. They've become more prominent on the internet, but the last attempts (A Haunted House,Scary Movie 5, and Disaster Movie) at making the genre popular only seemed lazy, tired and simply dumb. The best parody movies either know how to spoof popular movies or genres of those movies. But they also need to tell a good story within itself. This is why Blazing Saddles was hilarious about the first black sheriff. This is why Army of Darkness was fun as a horror and as a comedy. But I also realized that horror spoofs seemed to be the only parodies we've gotten.
I think it's because we get more horror movies then anything else, there's just more material to work off of. But we've also seen superhero, cop, thriller, and even science-fiction parodies. So what hasn't been done in a while? How about chick flicks? They have their quirks and tropes that people like to point out, are considered unrealistic and pandering, and yet, are still seen by a lot of people. I like the idea of someone being stuck within a romantic comedy as seen in Isn't It Romantic.
An Australian architect Natalie (played by Rebel Wilson) is living a less then magical life in New York, dealing with a small apartment, grim workplace and a lack of attention from men…and seems contempt about it. Her best friend Josh (played by Adam DeVine) tries to encourage her to stand up for herself, but understands it's hard to convince someone whose already happy to movie forward. Natalie's outlook comes from her understanding that her heavier appearance is something that typical Hollywood movies don't focus on, and thus sees herself as average. This changes when she's knocked out while subduing a mugger.
When she wakes up, she notices the hospital is beautiful and the doctors are good looking. In fact, New York City seems prettier and more like something out of a Hallmark advertisement. She comes to the conclusion that if this is real, then she's inside a romantic comedy. She's relived that Josh seems unaffected, but is annoyed when he falls for a "yoga-ambassador" Isabella (played by Priyanka Chopra). She also becomes the apple's eye for Blake (played by Liam Hemsworth). She deduces she needs for him to declare his love for her in order to escape. She plays along with the tropes and clichés, while determining the possible merits for believing in yourself.
I have to give this movie a lot of credit for not only trying to bring back a genuinely funny parody genre movie, but for understanding why people love and hate romantic comedies. Isn't It Romantic has the right frame and is doing everything not to fall into the pitfalls that regular romantic movies do. Whenever it's in the romantic comedy universe, it works well. When it's in the real world, this is where things become complicated.
Isn't it Romantic may have benefited more from a different beginning and ending. The middle has a good format and seems keen on going with it. Not all the jokes work, but there are plenty of moments I laughed. One of the highlights is a musical sequence to the tune of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", all done in a format that parodies and celebrates those campy moments from romantic comedies. So what's wrong with the beginning and end? Though they have good intention, it seems too typical of romantic comedies. Perhaps if it was grittier and darker, that would have contrasted the middle segment a lot more, making it even funnier.
This is where I also have to give credit to Rebel Wilson who is giving it her all. She does a good job being the cynical girl within an overly happy universe. I can't blame her for some of the shortcomings. It isn't her fault; it's of the script, which should have done more to contrast her further. I think it's because I've seen her in some romantic comedies like Bridesmaidsand Pitch Perfectthat I wanted her to play her character darker and perhaps meaner. This is Rebel Wilson restrained; I'm sure should could have gone further, but she managed to get a lot of good material out.
I'll give this three rose bouquets out of five. While I may not find myself rewatching it again and again, I can see a lot of people getting a kick out of this. You don't have to be an expert in the romantic comedy genre to get the jokes. I would have liked more, but I think people will be happy with this regardless. If you looking for something that's more of a light slap then a punch at a genre, then go see it.