Rebel Wilson is the star of her own Rom-Com
Last week, I panned the “What Women Want” remake, “What Men Want,” because of its mean-spirited and annoying humor. But this week, I found myself laughing at “Isn’t It Romantic?,” which does a sweet-hearted and comical job at satirizing the rom-com genre. It features a number of cliches, but it’s all part of the joke, and we’re having fun with it.
Rebel Wilson (star of the “Pitch Perfect” trilogy and “Bridesmaids”) is finally given the star-billing as Natalie, a down-on-her-luck NYC architect, who once loved “Pretty Woman,” and now thinks romantic comedies are phony. Exiting her subway, she comes face-to-face with a thief, and wins the fight, but bashes her head, and wakes up in a hospital. The doctor there is nice to her, her apartment is now Shangri-La, and an Australian businessman named Blake (Liam Hemsworth) finds her attractive. “Okay, this isn’t real,” she assumes, but she’s now trapped in a real-life rom-com and it’s PG-13, so all F-bombs are censored.
In this “alternate universe” as she calls it, Natalie’s co-worker and friend Whitney (Betty Gilpin) is now her mortal enemy; her neighbor Donny (Brandan Scott Jones) is her gay roommate; and her other co-worker and friend Josh (Adam Devine, Wilson’s “Pitch Perfect” co-star) is dating a “yoga ambassador” named Isabella (Priyanka Chopra). Now, she must find a way to get back to her own world.
Isn’t It Romantic?” is very funny in the ways Wilson struggles to adapt to her rom-com fairy tale, and how she uses her material to overcome it. The movie never overdoses on her slapstick, and it treats her very well. And you also get some charming supporting work from Hemsworth as her alleged hunk and Devine as her good friend. Both of them are deliberated on who wins her heart, and it’s actually kind of sweet.
The best running gag in “Isn’t It Romantic” involves Natalie being bound by the rules of a PG-13 movie. For example: if she tries to say #%*, a truck beeping censors it, and when she has sex with Blake, it cuts to the next morning, just as it’s about to start. These are the rules basically.
Even if it gets a little awkward at times, it still has its heart in the right place. As a spoof, I feel as though it’s made from the spare parts of “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “Pretty Woman,” and maybe a little bit of “It’s A Wonderful Life” if you count the reality she wants to escape from. This is just cute.