Starring: Rebel Wilson, Adam Devine, Liam Hemsworth
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Running Time: 88 mins
Isn’t It Romantic is an American film about a woman who, despite her disdain for all things love, finds herself mysteriously trapped inside a romantic comedy.
As cinema’s most formulaic and over-played genre, I’m always happy to see a film taking a little pop at the romantic comedy, simply because there’s so much to poke fun at. Isn’t It Romantic takes this premise to the max early on, with a full-on parody of all things rom-com that makes for a rather cute and enjoyable opening. However, while it’s a perfectly pleasant movie throughout, it unfortunately loses steam and confidence in its satirical attitude, ultimately and rather disappointingly devolving into what is unmistakably a generic romantic comedy.
But let’s start on the bright side, with the film’s early critiques and little jabs at all the ridiculous tropes of the romantic comedy. As a genre that everyone knows well, this film doesn’t hold back when going into extreme detail about various formulaic aspects of the rom-com, whether it be the pointless rivalry between female friends or the ever-present final dash to stop the wedding.
In that, there’s a lot to laugh at and enjoy when it comes to making fun of the rom-com formula, and Isn’t It Romantic is a film that stays bold and confident in its delivery of that satire well throughout the first act, all the while impressing with nice humour, a pleasant lead performance from Rebel Wilson, and a sweet and enjoyable atmosphere all round.
A lot of that continues on right the way through to the end, and while Isn’t It Romantic remains a really rather nice watch throughout, it proves hugely disappointing in its rather abrupt end of all the rom-com satire as the second act gets underway.
With a major change of circumstance that sees Rebel Wilson trapped inside a romantic comedy, the film eventually just gives up on all its gags and little jabs at the genre, and instead goes into automatic as it develops the story and the various on-screen romances towards a disappointingly predictable conclusion.
In comparison to something like They Came Together, which also pokes fun at romantic comedies, Isn’t It Romantic isn’t consistently farcical or stupid enough to be a properly good satire of the genre. Its finale attempts to subvert your expectations with an individualistic message, but it’s delivered far too seriously and earnestly to fit in with that comical vibe.
Ultimately, that’s what really undoes this film as a whole. It’s perfectly pleasant, and thanks to its thoroughly enjoyable opening act, it’s certainly better than most romantic comedies. However, the fact remains that it just doesn’t carry through with its funniest ideas, instead devolving into exactly what it’s meant to poking fun at. With a disappointingly generic, simplistic and annoyingly earnest latter two acts, it makes for an underwhelming finish to what could have been a thoroughly hilarious watch, and that’s why I’m giving Isn’t It Romantic a 7.2 overall.