I think that it is safe to assume that most people have a film genre that they completely hate. For me, it’s action movies, the sort with endless car chases, predictable plot twists and story lines that seem to actually go anywhere. For Natalie in 2019 comedy ‘Isn’t It Romantic’, it’s rom-coms, she can’t stand them. They are cliche, they are formulaic and they paint the world with the realistic idea that there will always be a happy ending. So when she wakes up suddenly trapped in a real life rom-com, it’s a real life nightmare.
This film marks Rebel Wilson’s first as a leading lady and first producing credit. As Natalie, she is both likable and believable, portraying a character who is easy to relate to with her work shyness, love life struggles and general awkwardness. Wilson has an obvious natural flair for comedy and it’s perfectly balanced in the respect that it is not over the top and doesn’t feel forced. Instead, it’s clever and easy going, fitting with the character.
With an ensemble cast including Liam Hemsworth, Adam Levine and Priyanka Chopra, there is plenty of talent in this film and an interesting array of characters who are both easy to love and easy to hate. Levine and Wilson have worked together on a number of films previously before being brought together for this film, and that real friendship works well here with the characters of Natalie and Josh naturally bouncing off of each other with a completely believable chemistry. Liam Hemsworth plays Natalie’s romantic interest Blake, who piles on the rom com cliches and smiles his way through every scene. Priyanka Chopra takes on the role of Isabella, the girl that everybody loves to hate, always looking perfect and always getting the guy.
Whilst some parts of the story may be rather predictable, what makes this film enjoyable is how it relies on cliches and references to other well known rom-coms for the base of its comedy. Parts of Wilson’s wardrobe are direct references to ‘Pretty Women’ with films such as ‘When Harry Met Sally’, ‘Jerry Maguire’ and ‘Enchanted’ referenced. As Natalie stumbles her way through the strange rom-com life she has found herself trapped in, you laugh at her disbelief of the whole situation and how dumb it is, from her now perfect apartment to her sudden inability to swear.
This is a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and isn’t afraid to make fun of itself, with a number of direct looks to the camera and big song and dance numbers shoehorned in for comedic effect. The story may be predictable and, at times, rather silly, but that’s the point. It makes it obvious that it is making fun of the romantic comedy genre, and takes it over the top. Nevertheless, the story is still enjoyable and the characters are generally likable. Easy watching pleasure, light and breezy.