Isn't It Romantic Movie Review
The romantic comedy formula is as old as the Bible itself. Isn’t It Romantic, starring Rebel Wilson, looks to throw said formula on its head by sucking its star into a “romantic comedy movie”—and giving audiences a very traditional romantic comedy, albeit with a few winks and nods.
Isn’t It Romantic is directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, who dabbled with something similar a few years back in The Final Girls, a movie in which a young woman is pulled into her actress mom’s old slasher flick. I don’t remember much about that movie, and in a few years’ time I expect to not remember much about Isn’t It Romantic either, as it’s as forgettable as its title.
The concept is genuinely good—poke fun at romantic comedies—but the execution is middling at best. Rebel Wilson is decent enough in the lead, even if she isn’t given enough to do in the comedy department as was probably needed. The movie overall lacks the finesse of delivering upon its promise, the script unwilling to truly be scathing in its “satire” of romantic comedy tropes let alone land some truly great jokes at the genre’s expense.
Isn’t It Romantic is more concerned with being a romantic comedy that simply knows it’s a romantic comedy, a rather uninspired approach that leaves little to be desired. It isn’t terrible—in fact, at 90 minutes it’s mildly amusing and in a few parts actually entertaining—and a gag about sex is somewhat clever, but it’s hard not to see the potential wasted.
The end result just feels lazy, as if the screenwriters felt that they didn’t actually need jokes in their comedy that makes fun of romantic comedies. The failure to take advantage of Wilson’s comedic chops exemplifies this. Co-writer Dana Fox’s How to Be Single, which also starred Wilson, suffered from a similar problem (the less said about her earlier comedies the better), which makes me question whether she should switch genres—and why she keeps getting hired to write comedies if she can’t do funny.
Isn’t It Romantic isn’t the worst way to spend 90 minutes, but its lack of clever jokes and seemingly lack of awareness that it is exactly what it’s trying to make fun of makes it hard to recommend.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.