Isn’t it Romantic movie cast: Rebel Wilson, Adam Devine, Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra
Isn’t it Romantic movie director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Isn’t it Romantic movie rating. Two and a half stars
If you thought that Isn’t it Romantic is the film with which our desi girl Priyanka Chopra finally has her moment in the Hollywood sun, it’s not. Second, it’s not the film which will have a place of pride in the ‘heartbreak shelf’ — along with Pretty Woman, Clueless, Harry Met Sally and 50 First Dates, if you will. Isn’t it Romantic is the story of Natalie (Rebel Wilson), who has grown up watching rom-coms. The film opens with her as a teenager watching Pretty Woman while her mother gives her a reality check — it (happy endings and their ilk) is not real. We jump ahead two decades and Natalie is an architect in a firm — and the official doormat, reduced to being a coffee girl. Outside office, she lives in a shabby apartment, in a shabby part of New York. Enter the best friend, Josh (Adam Devine), who has always had a thing for our heroine and of course everyone can sense it, but the heroine. There is also the super ripped billionaire mogul, Blake (Liam Hemsworth), the perfect eye candy.
Till now, we can tick off all the boxes in place for a typical rom-com. But wait till a mugging occurs in a subway station and Natalie wakes up in an alternate world where she’s super confident, calls the shots and all men make eye contact with her. That’s where Isn’t it Romantic gets interesting and spoofs everything ‘trope-worthy’ about rom-coms. In this alternate world, New York is glitzy with cupcake shops galore. Natalie wakes up every morning with her hair and make-up in place and her apartment looks good enough to be featured on the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Also, this universe is PG-13. Everything is bright and cheery, and you cannot swear. Then there is a serendipitous first date with Blake, replete with a makeover by a gay best friend, dinner on a yacht, breaking-in an ice cream shop for dessert, the works. All’s well in this love story, till the guy next door best friend, Josh dates the svelte ‘yoga ambassador’ Isabella (Priyanka Chopra) and Natalie has doubts about Blake, and wonders if Josh was the guy of her dreams all along. Blend all this with a dance-off, karaoke and running to gatecrash a wedding, yes you guessed it right, to almost stop it.
Isn’t it Romantic has twisted some plots, which keep the narrative interesting. A plus-sized heroine, for starters. The nerd-ish guy next door as the hero, and not the hunky mogul. There is a hint of a message of ‘self-love’ and ‘self-esteem’. But while the visuals and world-building are spectacular, the writing and paper-thin characters are a letdown. If only the writers had spent more time on the script, we might not have seen the film air on Netflix (Warner Bros sold the film to the streaming platform). As for Priyanka Chopra, she has had more screen time even when she was just doing item numbers back home. She is awkward and stiff in the dance off, which is strange, as we clearly remember her slick moves in Gallan Goodiyaan (Dil Dhadakne Do) and Pinga (Padmaavat). Rebel Wilson shines as she spews out a rant, critiquing each and every flaw of the romantic-comedy genre, and pummels the life out of her mugger. The actor is on a roll, we have more of her this year — her next release is The Hustle alongside Anne Hathaway.
There hasn’t been a romantic comedy to write home about in ages. The genre, after having a dedicated fan following for decades, clearly needs a reinvention. Isn’t it Romantic is not that.
Isn’t it Romantic is currently streaming on Netflix.