Well, if there was ever a parody to be intrigued by, it’s going to be this one.
The story looks like it’s about a woman who has spent her life thinking that rom-coms are highly unrealistic, and also because she isn’t the standard idea of what beauty is, so therefore it wouldn’t work out for her anyway. But she eventually suffers a head injury and wakes up to find that she’s suddenly in a PG-13 rom-com herself and is trying to get out of this new reality.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Rebel Wilson (PITCH PERFECT , 2 , and 3 , HOW TO BE SINGLE , and upcoming films THE HUSTLE  and CATS ), Liam Hemsworth (INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 , and the upcoming ARKANSAS ), and Adam Devine (LEGO BATMAN  and MIKE & DAVE ).
In support, we have Priyanka Chopra (BAYWATCH , and the upcoming THE SKY IS PINK ), Betty Gilpin (GLOW [2017 – ongoing], and upcoming films A DOG’S JOURNEY  and STUBER ), and Jennifer Saunders (SING , MINIONS , and CORALINE ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Todd Strauss-Schulson, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Making for a red flag total of three writers, we have Erin Cardillo (1 episode of FULLER HOUSE [2016 – ongoing]), Dana Fox (HOW/SINGLE), and Katie Silberman (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and the upcoming BOOKSMART ). Composing the score is John Debney, known for BEIRUT (2018), HOME AGAIN (2017), MOTHER’S DAY (2016), THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (2015), STONEHEARST (2014), IRON MAN 2 (2010), HOCUS POCUS (1993), and the upcoming THE BEACH BUM (2019). The cinematographer is Simon Duggan, known for HACKSAW (2016). Finally, the editor is Andrew Marcus, known for COLLATERAL BEAUTY (2016), AMER. ULTRA (2015), and BEGIN AGAIN (2014).
Overall, this looks like it could be amusing. Sort of reminds me of a self-aware I FEEL PRETTY. This movie will win some major brownie points if Wilson’s weight isn’t addressed and just normalize it. In any case, you know the alternate lead would have been Amy Schumer, which then I wouldn’t like this at all. Not that I’m Wilson’s biggest fan either, in fact, this cast in general is making me think it’s not going to be a good movie at all as few of them have been in legit good movies, but Wilson is far more likable. We shall see.
This is my honest opinion of: ISN’T IT ROMANTIC
Set in New York City. Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is a talented architect at her job, has grown up being a cynic toward romantic comedies, believing that life is far more unfair than they make them out to be. Leaving work one day, she ends up getting mugged in the subway. Despite her escape, she inadvertently runs into a steel beam and knocks herself out. She wakes up in a whole different reality that is a bad romantic comedy. Believing that her only way of getting back to actual reality is to have a man fall in love with her, she ends up choosing her rich and handsome, but snobbish client from work, who is now a charming gentleman, Blake (Liam Hemsworth) to break the reality with.
Hmm… well, it could have been worse. It could have been anything with Amy Schumer.
Starting with the positives. I’ve not always been a fan of Wilson. Sure, I liked her in the first Pitch Perfect movie, but her career has always seemed to take after Melissa McCarthy’s career for awhile: be the overweight foul-mouth, beating people to the punch of making fun of her weight. I mean, in Pitch Perfect, her character’s name is literally credited as “Fat Amy.” Thankfully, this movie doesn’t do that. Wilson is allowed to be charming and kinda funny. Not every joke lands, of course, but it’s a far better role than she’s had in a long time. What Natalie lacks in any measure of depth of interest, Wilson makes up for in likability. At least when she’s on screen, you’re paying attention and enjoy seeing her bounce off of everyone, so you can’t say she doesn’t have good chemistry with her peers. There was certainly a smile on my face more often than not.
But let’s get to those negatives.
This movie has no idea what it’s doing. It knows what it wants to be, which is making fun of rom-coms, but it’s not doing it in a way that legit addresses the problems of a bad, or recycled rom-com. You know how this fantasy world is all bright and colorful, people are way too chipper and seem to only hear what they want to hear? Rom-coms don’t do that, and to say that they do is a very cynical and inaccurate statement. Even the bad ones aren’t nearly this over the top. Take the comment of how women in the workplace can’t get along. I’ve seen many rom-coms in my day. Hell, I was practically raised on them. I’ve never seen a movie where women were hostile toward each other for no reason other than, “women.” There’s always a reason for why there’s less than ideal attitudes. More often than not, their relationship ends with the being friends. If this ever did happen, it’s because… movies have protagonists and antagonists? Why do the cynics immediately jump to the idea that it’s because of “women,” and not because of conflicting ideas and emotions?
Actually, one of the more confusing aspects of the movie is when Natalie breaks character. Like, she knows she’s in a fantasy world and the voice over said that she needs to have a man fall in love with her in order to wake up from it. However, as she accepts the flirting from Blake, she seems to be legitimately falling for him, or… getting way too into it. At the end of the day, this character isn’t the Blake of the real world. <<<SPOILERS>>> [ Hell, if anything, he proves that he’s nicer than he led on as he’s the first to agree with her business proposal. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>> So what is she doing getting this into him? For this to work, he would have to be selling an obvious sob story and she’d have to fake being sorry for him, or sympathetic. That’s really how she should be acting throughout the entire movie, but… nope. To make matters even more confusing, the real world doesn’t even feel like a real world. No accomplished employee working for a company like this was ever mistaken for “the coffee person,” and not bat an eyelash. New people, maybe, not seasons employees that everyone sees every day. I work at a restaurant and even co-workers who never see or I don’t work with identify me as a co-worker, and only mistake me for a guest if, quite literally, it’s their first time meeting me. The point is, even the real world in this movie feels like an extension of the fantasy world that Natalie is supposed to be whisked away to.
It must sound like I dislike this movie, but the truth is, I don’t. Not really. There’s no sense of reality to relate to, the fantasy world is too cartoonish to be addressing the subject matter that it’s trying to satirize, the story is predictable, everything that you think will happen in the movie will, and it’s got a pretty forced moral that the rest of the movie doesn’t quite support. With that said, Wilson does carry this movie pretty well. She has oodles of charm and likability, with a few jokes that work. The supporting cast does a pretty solid job as well. Devine has his moments, Priyanka Chopra has her own brand of fun, and Hemsworth is definitely yucking it up to a degree that makes him fun to watch. So basically, the acting is what saves the flick. As a recommendation, meh. There’s no reason to rush out to see it in theaters, so save it for a rental, but you’re not missing much.
My honest rating for ISN’T IT ROMANTIC: 3/5
This week’s reviews:
Next week’s reviews:
- HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
- RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTOR