Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Isn't It Romantic

★½ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

I'll say it again: most modern romantic comedies are garbage. They follow the same formula, refusing to try something fresh. There are some that do break this mold, yes, but there's still something missing: a romantic comedy satirizing the tropes of romantic comedies.

Isn't It Romantic, despite a couple solid moments, fails miserably in its attempt to satirize romantic comedies. The film follows Natalie (played by Rebel Wilson), an Australian-born architect in New York. Natalie is an avid hater of anything romantic, has low self-esteem, & is essentially treated a pushover, especially at her job by her co-workers, namely Blake (played by Liam Hemsworth), a new billionaire client. She rudely declines to go to a karaoke bar with her friend Josh (played by Adam Devine) & overtly criticizes her assistant friend Whitney (played by Betty Gilpin) for her love of romantic comedies & their clichéd moments.

On her way home from work, Natalie knocks herself unconscious. When she wakes up, she notices that everything has changed: New York smells nice, her apartment is much more extravagant, her dog is obedient, her co-workers are nice towards her, her neighbor Donny (played by Brandon Scott Jones) is now a stereotypical gay best friend, & men are more interested in her now, especially Blake, who is now suddenly Australian. Natalie eventually realizes that she is now in a PG-13 romantic comedy.

Natalie goes on a walk with Josh, who ends up saving the life of Isabella (played by Priyanka Chopra), a model who was choking. This sparks a romance between the two, & a realization from Natalie that she likes Josh. But she must try to find a way out of the romantic comedy world as well as telling Josh the truth.

The cast is a mixed bag. Rebel Wilson does a solid job with what she is given. That goes for most of the cast, namely Adam Devine & Priyanka Chopra, but especially Brandon Scott Jones. However, Liam Hemsworth is awful, & doesn't have the acting talent that of which his older brother Chris has an exorbitant amount.

Todd Strauss-Schulson's direction is poor. Strauss-Schulson is unable to get good enough performances out of his entire cast, & his style feels very bland.

And the screenplay by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox & Katie Silberman is terrible. The plot is very derivative, the characters are two-dimensional, & the dialogue is, except for a few instances, very unfunny.

This is a bad romantic comedy satire. It had the potential to make it work, but it has one major flaw that derails the film: it becomes what it wants to satirize.

Isn't It Romantic was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Sunday, February 17, 2019. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 89 minutes, & it is rated PG-13 for language, some sexual material, & a brief drug reference.

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