Directed by: Todd Strauss-Schulson
“Isn’t It Romantic” showcases its star, the scene-stealing, funny girl, Rebel Wilson, in her first-ever performance as a leading actress. Growing up as a child, Wilson’s character, Natalie, began to believe that romantic comedies are real and that the cheesiness of love truly exists. Reality hits the 30-something-year-old architect quickly as she becomes older, wiser, and of course, more cynical, as all stars of romantic comedies must start out as. After being knocked unconscious (which by the way, seems to happen in every single Rom-Com these days), Natalie wakes up in somewhat of an alternate universe, where she is the star of a romanticized dream world, where men actually notice her, and things go her way. Confused and overwhelmed, Natalie must learn how to embrace her now predictable life that has been turned into a movie in order to find true love and figure out who she truly is.
“Isn’t It Romantic” should have been called “Isn’t It a Snoozefest.” What this romantic comedy lacks, besides literally everything that makes a great film, is the comedy. Sure, the romance is somewhat there. I mean, hey, I love seeing the nerdy guy (played by Adam Devine) finally get some love, but the whole film lacked the certain charm it needed to actually be considered a Rom-Com. To be even more brutally honest, it was not funny. I hardly laughed, and I always laugh in a movie — even if it’s a depressing melodrama. My point is that for a film solely based on poking fun at this supposedly “worn out” genre, it would have been nice to get a few laughs out of the whole thing. But, no. The filmmakers decided to play it safe and give us a plot and characters that have been done a thousand times. Where’s the creativity?
I know that I am not letting this film or its actors off easily, but I feel that audiences should know that just because a popular film uses a star vehicle, like Rebel Wilson, to attract a specific, targeted audience, doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed to be great, or even good at that, if you like the star. This doesn’t mean that Rebel Wilson isn’t funny. Believe me, she was the reason why I wanted to see this film and even give it a chance despite how, forgive my bluntness, stupid it looked in every single trailer and advertisement.
Well, her and Liam Hemsworth.
Plus, I, like many people who accompanied me in the theater, saw this on Valentine’s Day weekend. There are certain expectations put on a film when it is released at this time of year and boy, would I have loved to cackle until my ribs break and cry until my mascara is gone, but obviously that did not happen.
To be even more specific about my expectations, especially from Rebel Wilson, I went to see her film “How to Be Single” (2016) on Valentine’s Day three years ago, and I laughed until I cried and still re-watch that flick all the time. Though I love to see someone like Rebel Wilson, a stereotypically “unlikely” portrait of a movie star, lead a film, perhaps she maybe is better as a scene-stealing supporting actress. She was hysterically divine in “How to Be Single” and even had some fantastic moments in the “Pitch Perfect” franchise, so forgive me for actually expecting “Isn’t It Romantic” to be at least an “OK” flick.
The worst part about “Isn’t It Romantic” wasn’t the dry, humorless script, nor the cheesiness of the whole plot in general. It was the fact that the film’s intended motive was to be a “love yourself” story that instead never actually happened. Throughout the film, we see Wilson’s character struggle with who she wants to love, but never strive to love herself first. But at the very end, specifically an hour and 10 minutes into the film, we see her finally have that self-love, “I love myself” moment. For me, the moment not only arrived late but also failed to resonate with the audience because of how quickly the main character changed in just that one moment. It was so random that it nearly gave the flick a new vibe for a few seconds. The story should have led up to that moment of the character finally discovering her self-worth, but instead, it was muffled by the love story aspect that didn’t matter in terms of the film.
All in all, the film was dry, humorless, and ultimately, redundant. I understand that being the film connoisseur that I am makes it hard for me to go into certain movies with an open mind, but take it from not only me but also a few people I know that enjoy just about every Rom-Com, that this flick majorly missed the mark. Even a steamy, shirtless piece of eye candy like Liam Hemsworth couldn’t save this hot mess. To be honest, he was probably the only good part. I give it a 3 out of 10. `