What? Can’t a guy be a softy and go see a Valentine’s Day romantic comedy? Especially one that preaches self love above all else?
To be honest, I find the concept of “Isn’t It Romantic” to be interesting – a cynic and hater of romantic comedies is forced to live in an a cheesy 1980s or 1990s rom-com with no idea of how to get out other than to play the whole thing out. Maybe it’s because of the lack of romantic comedies in the last few years, but I’m usually down for any film that pokes fun of a genre’s stereotypes.
However, while there are many great moments, jokes and characters, I can’t help but feel that the presentation of “Isn’t It Romantic” falls a bit short due to not being specific enough. While the aim of the film was to deconstruct the romantic comedy, it never gives the audience exact details of which films it wants to point a finger at. While they show a young Rebel Wilson watching “Pretty Woman” in the beginning, that’s about all we get. Tropes and clichés are addressed, but where these same tropes came from is never mentioned. Rather than picking a standout scene from a classic rom-com like “Love Actually” or “When Harry Met Sally…”, the film just glances over things that frustrate Rebel Wilson with how unrealistic and contrived they are.
It almost feels like the screenwriters didn’t actually watch any romantic comedies to write this film, and instead got all of their information off of Wikipedia.
However, the film never takes itself quite so seriously. Many of the jokes about trying to be R-rated in a PG-13 movie hit the nail on the head, and Liam Hemsworth is hilarious in nearly every scene. And for a film that wants to ridicule cliché rom-coms from the 1990s, the film does have a very relevant message that I applaud it for. In many ways, it has a message that so many rom-coms from the 2000s emphasized, but in a much more overt and honest way, which brings it all full circle and makes “Isn’t It Romantic” a tribute to those films as much as it is a parody. And in an age with a lack of romantic comedies, that’s probably the best thing the genre needs right now.
Final Grade: C+