Netflix UK film review: Isn’t It Romantic
Updated 18-03-19 | 08:30 | Staff Reporter
7/10 Overall Rating 7.5/10
Rebel Wilson shines in this highly enjoyable rom-com send-up. I Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson Cast: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine Watch Isn’t It Romantic online in the UK: Netflix UK
Romantic comedies. They’ve been so hot right now, thanks to Netflix’s run of To All the Boys I’ve Before, Set It Up and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser – not to mention the smash hit that was Crazy Rich Asians. It’s only fitting, then, that Isn’t It Romantic should make its debut in the UK on Netflix too, and, as the genre evolves to reflect modern times, that it should spend its time poking fun at the more outdated tropes of its 90s heyday.
The film follows Natalie (Rebel Wilson), an architect in New York. She’s smart, hard-working and cynical when it comes to romance – even more so when it comes to romantic comedies, and all the expectations and notions they instil in audiences. But one day, she’s mugged on the subway and ends up knocked out cold – and when she wakes up, she finds herself living her own worst nightmare.
What ensues are several days stuffed with cliches, from choreographed musical numbers to endless meet-cutes. Even her apartment is miraculously bigger and more expensive, while her office turns into a hipster start-up – and comes with a nemesis (her former BFF who, because genre conventions dictate it, suddenly transforms into her enemy). There are familiar, broad gags aplenty, but it’s the tiny details and inventions that really win you ever – Blake (Liam Hemsworth), the company’s hunky client, repeatedly uses the word “beguiling”, as if it’s somehow a catchphrase, while her best friend, Josh (Adam DeVine), winds up in an implausible meet-cute with swimsuit model (and “yoga ambassador”) Isabella (Priyanka Chopra), only for Natalie to fulfil another rom-com trope by trying to break them up.
Wilson is much funnier than some of her roles let her be, and this is clearly tailor-made for her, from physical slapstick and bewildered facial expressions to a karaoke scene that makes Pitch Perfect 2 and 3 look like, well, Pitch Perfect 2 and 3. It’s a wonderful match of cast and material, with DeVine also shining – some of the best scenes are them simply enjoying the chance to interact – and Liam’s comic timing proving that he’s more than just Hemsworth Number 2.
The result isn’t quite as astute or consistent as They Came Together (the two would make a highly enjoyable double-bill) but when it hits its mark – such as an edited-for-family-audiences sex scene – Isn’t It Romantic is hilarious. When it doesn’t, it’s smart enough to move on to the next gag without letting the sparks fade. And, underpinning it all, is a commendable notion that other types of non-romantic love are just as important as the one the movies teach us to value. The laughter that goes with that feel-good message is the icing on the cake.
Isn’t It Romantic is available on Netflix UK, as part of £7.99 monthly subscription.