Up until this past summer, romantic comedies were a dying genre in Hollywood. Audiences were unsatisfied with the predictable happy endings and women always being a damsel in distress. Still, no matter how often people try to deny it, there is something heartwarming about watching clichés play out on the big screen, which is part of why “Isn’t It Romantic?” has been so successful.
Now, the rom-com hiatus has ended. Many romantic novels, like “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Love, Simon” and “Every Day,” made their way to the big screens. Netflix has also helped bring the romantic movie genre out of hibernation. Over a dozen films have been produced by the streaming giant within the last year, including major hits like “Set it Up,” “The Kissing Booth” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”
Netflix has also recently taken on the international distribution rights for Hollywood’s latest romantic comedy, “Isn’t it Romantic?”
The movie follows Natalie (Rebel Wilson), a working girl living in New York City, who doesn’t believe in the fantasy aspect of romantic comedies. When she was younger, her mother always told her that girls that look like her don’t get the kind of romance found in movies.
But one day, after getting mugged and bumping her head, she finds herself in an alternate universe where she is the lead in her own romantic comedy. Everything in her life is perfect: great office, a luxurious apartment and a new beau.
While she’s in this parallel universe, she realizes that the person she was crushing on, Blake (Liam Hemsworth), may not be as suitable for her as her best friend, Josh (Adam DeVine). Of course, in this alternate world, Josh ends up having a beautiful girlfriend, Isabella (Priyanka Chopra), making it harder for Natalie to be with him.
It’s simple really: The girl finally gets her dream guy, she thought she would like him more but she realizes that her true match was under her nose all along: her best friend.
In general, “Isn’t it Romantic?” is very similar to clichéd romantic comedy movies. Even though it attempts to be satirical by poking fun at rom-coms, the film turns out to be just as predictable.
Granted, there are a few instances where the spoof actually works: While in the alternate universe, Natalie realizes that she can’t have sex with Blake. Her sex life there is exactly how it’s portrayed in PG-13 romantic comedies: non-existent.
Still, the parody theme doesn’t always work. “Isn’t it Romantic?” also features a few flash mobs, almost imitating a Bollywood musical, but having musical numbers is unnecessary and doesn’t contribute to the story as a whole.
When it comes to romantic comedies, there needs to be a balance of cheesy romance and feel-good humor. “Isn’t it Romantic?” may have some of that cheesy romance, but the humor relies entirely on the irony of those cheesy moments. The movie intended to provide a new take on bubbly romances, but it ultimately failed by trying to turn itself into one, which is the most ironic thing about the film. It points out everything wrong about romantic comedies and then gives you a romantic comedy, expecting you to fully enjoy it.
Being a general lover of rom-coms, I was excited and curious to see what “Isn’t it Romantic?” is all about. The film had some charming moments, but the whole satire act just didn’t do it for me. “Isn’t It Romantic?” wanted to stand out, but it just ended up being as calculated as the rest of them.
Classic romantic comedies are movies that you can watch again and still get that giddy feeling you had when you watched it the first time. “Isn’t It Romantic?” is a movie that was good the first time, but you might not choose to watch it again.
The film opened last week and has brought in over $20 million in the box office. Critics have given the movie mixed reviews and it received a 68 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Despite “Isn’t It Romantic?” not being the typical romantic comedy, it does a good job of shining a light on some of the different types of love, especially self-love.
Ever since she was a child, Natalie had it ingrained in her head that she could never have a happy ending because she didn’t look like the people on screen. By the end of the movie, not only did Natalie get her guy, but she realized the importance of loving yourself before you love someone else.
Although “Isn’t It Romantic?” doesn’t make the list for all-time best rom-coms, it wasn’t a bad movie; it could have easily been worse.
Some of the greatest romantic comedies, like “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Love Actually,” weren’t just successful because of their cute ending scenes: They all had likable leads, iconic one-liners and a light storyline. “Isn’t It Romantic?” has a likable lead and includes some pretty funny quotes, but the storyline could have been better. Still, the energy of the cast, especially Wilson’s unique performance in the film, makes the movie worth watching.
Finally, the film avoids the fatal flaw of rom-coms: Even though most hopeless romantics crave that happily-ever-after ending, the story must have its ups and downs. Because of these successes, “Isn’t It Romantic?” is reviving romantic comedies and setting new expectations for them.