No you are not seeing things I am indeed reviewing a romantic comedy. This Netflix produced film is an attempted satire on rom coms and all the usual tropes, plot devices, songs and cliches that lie within. We follow Natalie (Rebel Wilson) a rather unlucky New York architect who despises rom coms and all they stand for but after getting mugged and knocked out she wakes up in one that, to quote the lead lady, “is like The Matrix for lonely women”.
It is initially promising and you get the sense director Todd Strauss-Schulson‘s goal was for this to be to rom coms what Deadpool was to superhero films and Scream was to horror. Alas it falls widely short of this mark as it wallows in the abundant array of cliches it purports to satirise, with a complete lack of humour and imagination to boot. Isn’t It Romantic is a 90 minute checklist of genre cliches; set in New York? Tick. A vapid but catchy soundtrack? Well with Whitney Houston, Vanessa Carlton, Chris De Burgh and Madonna – amongst others – in tow consider that ticked.
The main character providing narration? Tick. A dream job and stupidly huge flat? Tick. A love triangle with a rich walking six pack (Liam Hemsworth) and an ‘average’ Joe (Adam Devine)? Tick. Not forgetting the gay sidekick Donny (Brandon Scott Jones) who, in the words of Natalie, “is setting gay rights back a hundred years”.
The ending comes as no surprise either, it is of course nauseatingly happy and includes a musical number. Rebel Wilson’s acting is perfunctory and to the point but Liam Hemsworth is decent enough. Actual good points are few and far between but Brandon Scott Jones’ Donny is perfectly over the top and Jennifer Saunders, Natalie’s mum, is great though criminally underused.
Isn’t It Romantic may have a good premise but it falls back on the tropes it was made to knock down, it is uninspired and wholly predictable fare that even die hard rom com fans will struggle to love. Isn’t it romantic? No. Just no.