Sometimes I just need broad humour to battle a chronic earache and period pains – and do you think I feel guilty about it? Hell no.
This week we look at one of the oldest movie templates in history – the Rom Com – from a cynical standpoint. Will we somehow learn a lesson by the time the credits roll? Probably not but there’s a sing/dance off so I’m in, whatever.
Isn’t it Romantic? (2019)
A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.
Starring: Rebel Wilson • Liam Hemsworth • Adam Devine
My relationship with Rebel Wilson is complex. On the surface I enjoy watching her but I find her a little one note. It’s probably not even her fault but I’d like to see her break the mould and play a completely different type of character in the future. The constant gurning gets on my tits too.
Anyway, problematic tastes aside, this film is a no-brainer and exactly what I needed on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I’ve actually already seen it but felt I needed another watch because I’d forgotten most of it.
As a child, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) was all about the romantic comedy, until her mother (Jennifer Saunders) burst the bubble. Claiming that sort of story wasn’t for the likes of them and only the Julia Roberts’ of this world, Natalie grew up and became a cynic.
Twenty five years later and Natalie is not exactly open to finding love. A junior architect with big ideas but a lack of confidence, she spends her days feeling invisible and is oblivious to all the good around her. Friends Josh (Adam Devine) and Whitney (Betty Gilpin) try to get her to see things differently but it’s almost impossible to shift her perspective.
One day, after bombing a big presentation by being mistaken for the coffee bitch by new client Blake (Liam Hemsworth), Natalie is mugged on the subway. Hitting her head, our hero wakes up in hospital and – worse – inside her own nightmare AKA romantic comedy land.
Everything in her new world is beautiful and harmonious. Men look her in the eye and call her adorable every time she trips (ew). Natalie’s previously run down neighbourhood has been gentrified and her shabby apartment is suddenly seventeen times bigger and full of everything good in the world. Most importantly, when Blake hits her with his car, he is instantly smitten with the baffled (and completely unrumpled) Nat.
Not everything is in Nat’s favour though. Whitney has become her bitchy rival at work and she can’t bleeping swear without having it bleeping bleeped out.
When she realises she’s woken up in a parallel universe (OBVIOUSLY), our girl figures the only way to get back to real life is to hit her head again. When that doesn’t work, her only option is to make Blake fall in love with her so she can be free. DUH.
Which isn’t too shabby when you consider he’s a Hemsworth. Alas sex isn’t something that actually happens in rom coms (not this one, anyway) so Nat is left largely unfulfilled. Logic is not something you need to worry about for the next 90 minutes, don’t worry.
Meanwhile, Josh rescues yoga ambassador Isabella (Priyanka Chopra) from choking in the park and they fall quickly in love. But something just doesn’t add up, despite how unbelievably perfect everything is. Can you guess what that is guys?
When the penny finally drops, Natalie has to figure out a way to sabotage the happy couple AND get back to the way things were. Luckily, she has GBFF and neighbour Donny (Brandon Scott Jones) on hand to help her scheme.
Will Natalie learn from all this? Will she be proven right, that as a strong independent woman she doesn’t need a dude to complete her – or will she see that actually – if she lets herself be open to it, she can have it all if she really wants it?
This isn’t M. Night Shyamalan and there are no surprises here. There are a couple of amusing bits (the telephone number on the petals, the karaoke sing-off) but it’s not that smart. It’s just another paint by numbers, the very kind of movie that Natalie despises in the first place.
The saccharine ending is sweet (sickly sweet) but it might have been nice if she had been offered it all and decided to stick to her single girl guns. I don’t know, I just find the messaging a little muddy.
Rebel is gorgeous and it irritates me that she would ever be considered invisible. She’s a goddamn knock out. Yet again we’re being sold a can only be found attractive in a parallel universe narrative and I’m bored. Yes this is supposed to be a comment on society and the bullshit of the commercial world women exist within but for fuck’s sake can we move on now? (See also I Feel Pretty).
Can we just have diverse female characters who don’t fit the cookie cutter mold but do have normal, happy lives and don’t have to defend themselves/play up to a stereotype/be extra-kooky to disguise all their hideous flaws?
I don’t hate this by any stretch, I just wanted more from it. As Jill says, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend did a romantic spoof episode a while back and did it way better.
⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What does my love think of this one? Would she take it to the ice cream shop or challenge it to a Karaoke-off? Find out here.