Todd Strauss Schulson’s Isn’t It Romantic doesn’t hold back in it’s lampooning of the tropes found in romantic comedies. What I didn’t expect is the refreshing themes found throughout the narrative. What appears to be Rebel Wilson and Adam Devine just playing their typical roles, actually is a film with just enough substance. Schulson understands that fans aren’t flocking to theaters to see Rebel Wilson give life lessons, but it was a pleasant surprise to see a balanced approach.
Erin Cardillo and Dana Fox constructed a narrative which plays to the cast’s strengths and allows for some surprises. Liam Hemsworth and Priyanka Chopra soar in their comedic roles which might open the door to some future comedic roles. However, one of the better written moments might have been in the opening sequence when Natalie’s (Wilson) mother played by Jennifer Saunders explains to her that “girls like us don’t get guys like that.” It’s a simple sequence which sets up loads of fun at the expense of romantic tropes and causes you to think about her statement? Why couldn’t a seemingly nice girl grow up and marry a man like that? Has our world become that fixated on superficiality? What I appreciated was how Cardillo and Fox’s narrative didn’t go for the obvious ending which in its own made a statement about how unrealistic those romantic comedies can be.
While Wilson indeed is quite comfortable playing characters which happen to be slight variations of her personality, this is without question the best I’ve seen of her on screen. There were moments of disbelief experienced by her character Natalie which came off as way too realistic — showing that vulnerability will make her even more appealing to a broader audience. Loved how that was put on display during the final sequence in the office where Wilson’s character and Josh (Devine) work.
Overall, I’d be lying to you if I told you that Isn’t It Romantic didn’t surprise the hell out of me. What appeared to be nothing more than a predictable comedy is, in reality, sweet, heartfelt, and a solid message which will resonate with crowds. Can’t ask for much more than that.