Isn’t It Romantic

Review by Patrick Sproull

Directed by

Todd Strauss-Schulson

Starring

Liam Hemsworth Priyanka Chopra Rebel Wilson

Anticipation.

An intriguing premise but will Rebel Wilson revert to being Fat Amy again?

Enjoyment.

Big, broad, wafer-thin fun – and those musical numbers are a blast.

In Retrospect.

Rebel Wilson kills it, even if the satire needs more bite.

Rebel Wilson stars in a fun meta rom-com that attempts to have its cake and eat it.

In 2015’s The Final Girls, Todd Strauss-Schulson upended slasher movie clichés by transporting a group of genre-savvy teens into their very own Friday the 13th. With Isn’t It Romantic the director continues what appears to be a running theme as he sends Rebel Wilson’s Natalie into an all-singing, all-dancing romantic comedy.

With a pokey apartment, colleagues that constantly demean her and no epic love affair on the horizon, Natalie leads a pretty ordinary existence. She’s bolstered by her dozy assistant (Betty Gilpin), who lives vicariously through rom-coms, and her best friend Josh (Adam DeVine) who seems to only have eyes for a billboard of Priyanka Chopra.

Natalie rebukes society’s romantic expectations but finds herself having to conform to them when she hits her head after a botched mugging and wakes up in a real-life rom-com. Now dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Natalie finds that men are extra chivalrous, she’s mortal enemies with her assistant (because women can’t be friends in rom-coms), and has a gay best friend who has no life outside of hers.

Wilson is particularly good here, merging her loud, self-aware Pitch Perfect persona with one that’s considerably more nuanced. Everything about her performance just clicks, and it’s exciting to know that in the right role she can be such a gifted performer. Her co-stars Chopra and Liam Hemsworth do what they do best by standing around looking attractive, while DeVine offers a more toned down version of his goofy comedic self.

More cynical viewers will quickly identify how the film tries to have its cake and eat it. As Natalie wanders around scoffing at a hunky cop’s badge reading ‘Officer Hansom’ and being forced to hear her own perky voiceover, Isn’t It Romantic hits many of the beats commonly associated with the movies and genre it’s mocking. But when it throws in a random dance number to Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)’ it’s difficult not to be won over.

The ending unfolds precisely how you expect it to, but the film gets by on an abundance of charm and possesses a satirical edge that is just enough to make it stand out. Smart observations are made about Natalie’s weight rendering her invisible to men and how gay men should be free to not be fabulous, which helps break up the occasionally repetitive flow of jokes. The satire isn’t quite as sharp as you would hope though.

Published 14 Feb 2019

Tags: Liam Hemsworth Priyanka Chopra Rebel Wilson Todd Strauss-Schulson

Anticipation.

An intriguing premise but will Rebel Wilson revert to being Fat Amy again?

Enjoyment.

Big, broad, wafer-thin fun – and those musical numbers are a blast.

In Retrospect.

Rebel Wilson kills it, even if the satire needs more bite.

Related Reviews

How to Be Single

By Sophie Monks Kaufman

Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson shine in this progressive comedy about sex and singledom.

review

Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson fleece rich men in The Hustle trailer

By Charles Bramesco

This remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels reverses the gender dynamic.

Pitch Perfect 3

By Hannah Woodhead

The final film in Kay Cannon’s trilogy about a group of singing friends is more awk-apella than a cappella.

review

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design

Sign up to our newsletter to hear more from team LWLies