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Saturday, February 23, 2019

AT THE MOVIES ~ ISN'T IT ROMANTIC



ISN’T IT ROMANTIC
If you are not a Rebel Wilson fan this movie is not for you. Wilson is a comedian who knows her shtick and is shticking to it. If you find Wilson funny, you’ll quickly realize this is the perfect movie for her. Its premise takes advantage of all her comedic skills and then some—who knew she could sing and dance—and she effortlessly carries the entire film on her very wide shoulders.

Wilson plays Natalie, her usual smart, but cynical character who this time out despises everything about movies billed as romantic comedies, aka rom-coms. Living in a rundown apartment with an unaffectionate dog, she’s an architect who nobody takes as more than competent—good for designing parking structures, but not much else. She finds herself being taken seriously by her co-workers, and even has a tough time reining in her assistant who watches romantic comedies on her computer all day at work.

Mugged in the subway on her way home, Natalie hits her head and wakes up trapped in a new reality where she is the center of attention for all the hearts, flowers, and sappy characters she despises in every rom-com ever made. Satire is hard to define and even harder to pull off. Isn’t It Romantic tries hard to satirize every rom-com movie cliché and almost succeeds to rise to that level. The one minor problem is the film is very meta and blunts it’s satiric edge by eventually becoming a traditional rom-com in and of itself. However, this is not necessarily a criticism. I came out of the theater feeling upbeat and entertained, which is the whole point of why I go to the movies.

If I do have a criticism, it’s the handling of the rom-com girl’s traditional gay sidekick. The character is so over the top as to be insulting. The jarring characterization fails to blend with the low-key performances of the other actors, who are all there to support Wilson and not to stand out in the crowd. Particular kudos to Liam Hemsworth, as the satirized romantic lead, who charmingly walks the tightrope between character and characterization with aplomb.   

I was not at all disappointed Isn’t It Romantic choose to step lightly on its satiric intentions, and didn’t go down the dark rabbit hole of a more scathing approach. The rabbit hole may have been a more critically interesting trip, but for lightweight comedic fluff, Isn’t It Romantic is clever enough to keep you chuckling, and even made me laugh out loud several times. The coup de grâce, however, is the closing Indian cinema inspired dance routine. It’s a hoot and a great way to give a rousing end to the film, which otherwise might have ended on a flat note. If you are looking for a clever date night movie with a bit of bite, then go see Isn’t It Romantic strictly for what it is—light, funny, and a highly commercial vehicle for the talents of Rebel Wilson. 


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