Isn’t It Romantic Parodies Traditional Rom-Coms

Released on February 13th, Isn’t it Romantic isn’t your standard romantic comedy; the movie poster’s tagline reads “None of the feels,” alluding to the satirical nature of the film. The movie’s premise is that Natalie (played by Rebel Wilson), a thirty-something architect who is openly cynical about love, bumps her head and wakes up in an alternate universe where all of the standard rom-com tropes are playing out in her life.

Natalie foreshadows the stereotypes to come in one of the film’s first scenes. When she catches her assistant watching a romantic movie on her computer instead of working, Natalie launches into an exhausting rant about all of the problems perpetuated in romantic comedies: the gay best friend whose only job is to support the woman in her romantic endeavors, the lack of an HR department which allows coworkers to constantly hook up, the pitting of two strong female characters against each other. Some of these stereotypes are clearly the screenwriters’ attempts to be “woke” and point out homophobia and misogyny in the media. However, some of the tropes Natalie mentions are strikingly familiar, like the cliched scene where the woman runs in slow motion to stop the wedding or catch her man at the airport before he leaves forever.

Later, after Natalie hits her head while being mugged, all of these rom-com cliches come to life for her. Natalie is the only one who recognizes that everything around her isn’t real, and she spends the rest of the film trying to convince people (like her friend Josh, who was in love with her even in the real world) to believe her and figure out how to return to her old life.

Isn’t it Romantic is just as predictable as all of the other rom-coms that it parodies. Within the first ten minutes of the film, it is clear that Josh has deep feelings for Natalie, of which she is blissfully unaware, too caught up in her “romance is overrated, I’m going to die alone” cynicism.

What sets the film apart is its original plot and humor. To see a film that is aware of and jokingly embraces the cliches associated with its genre is refreshing. The chemistry between the cast members is great; Adam Devine (who plays Josh) and Rebel Wilson previously starred together in the Pitch Perfect films.

Rebel Wilson alone is a reason to see this film. Her dry humor, wit, and spot-on delivery make this comedy succeed where it might otherwise fail. Her dialogue wouldn’t be as believable or relatable if it came out of a different actress’s mouth. In one of her best moments, Natalie points out a billboard of Priyanka Chopra in a sexy pose and mockingly deadpans, “Look at me, I’m just waiting for a hot man to buy me a salad.”

Isn’t it Romantic also wins thanks to its message of self-love. Naturally, when Natalie is thrown into an alternate universe where everything is seemingly perfect and romantic, she starts to consider all the things and people in her old life that she took for granted. A lot of people have wished for something incredible to happen in their lives, and then when it finally does, they realize it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. With Natalie’s journey comes the opportunity to discover what she truly wants and to love herself for who she really is.

The film might not be a traditional Valentine’s season swoon-fest, but that’s what makes it worth watching. Anyone who’s tired of overdone romance plots should see this satirical comedy. The film is still in theaters and is set to be released internationally on Netflix on February 28th, 2019.