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March 4, 2019

Isn't It Romantic (2019) --- "None Of The Feels, All Of The Cliches."

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson (The Final Girls) and written by Erin Cardillo (Life Sentence), Dana Fox (How to be Single), and Katie Silberman (Hot Pursuit, How to be Single), Isn’t It Romantic (2019) is the latest rom-com that is sure to entertain audiences alike. The film follows Natalie (Rebel Wilson), an Australian architect living a less than magical life in New York. Her lack of confidence and self-esteem has caused her career and daily life to stall, and yet she seems “content” about it. Her best friends Josh (Adam DeVine) and Whitney (Betty Gilpin) try to encourage her to stand up for herself and embrace love but it doesn’t help that Natalie is a skeptic concerning love and is quick to go on a detailed rant about the cons of romantic comedies, which foreshadows the rest of the film. However, after a freak subway accident, Natalie wakes up only to find herself trapped in a PG-13 rom-com world with all the typical clich├ęs and stereotypes. Choosing to play along she changes her wardrobe, brightens her attitude, and hooks up with the seemingly “perfect guy,” all while discovering the merits of believing in oneself. Will she discover that the perfect guy has been with her all along? Or will she simply go back to be the same person? Who is it that she really needs to fall in love with?
     Rom-coms and romance novels are all about establishing hope and inspiring dreams that love can be perfect with a perfect happy ending. They provide an escape from the real world where we know love is hard work and while it is a positive force, these types of films and books have a ton of unrealistic events and endings. Isn’t it Romantic (2019) adds some realism and easy laughs into an otherwise unrealistic and predictable genre. Director Schulson and the writers – Cardillo, Fox, and Silberman – have a solid grasp on the repeatably unrealistic outcomes associated with rom-coms. They play around with the film’s PG-13 rating, use a slew of good-natured jokes, and the impromptu musical numbers are fun, especially the final number that is reminiscent of most Bollywood films. Although a small part of me wishes that they would have cut a bit deeper into the genre, I also understand and respect their decision not to do so.
     The cast performances were solid. Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect trilogy) is not always my favorite actress, simply because it's hard to take her seriously, but here she delivers a great performance that is not to over the top. Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect, When We First Met), Betty Gilpin (GLOW, Fringe), and Priyanka Chopra (Quantico) give good performances, however, they seemed to be underused characters. Liam Hemsworth (Hunger Games, Independence Day 2) rarely gets his moment to shine by cutting his comedic chops by mocking the hunky leading man he plays. Brandon Scott Jones (The Good Place, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) is a scene stealer and acts as additional comedic relief as the gay BFF who has no job or life which allows for them to be wherever and whenever the lead character needs them. All the characters have great chemistry with each other, especially Jones and Wilson who gets the most screen time together.
     Overall, Isn’t It Romantic (2019) is a fun and entertaining film that is sure to bring a smile to your face and laughter to your ears. The story is a bit predictable and a little cheesy but the fact that it makes fun of the film’s rom-com status is what makes the film so successful. The acting was over the top in some intense and some of the characters were underused, but overall the performances were solid and chemistry was great. This film was refreshing and much needed during a season that can easily be depressing for those who have no one to share it with. I highly recommend this film and would like to mention that children under 13 years may benefit from having an adult present.

Final Vote --- 8 of 10 stars

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