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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Isn’t it Romantic’ gently lampoons the rom-com genre

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Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is a junior architect living in New York City, which on paper sounds like the beginning of a great romantic comedy.

Except Natalie is relegated to designing parking garages and her apartment is so gross it’s genuinely terrifying. Her life is nothing like a romantic comedy – until, that is, she’s lucky enough to be bonked on the head by a would-be mugger and wakes up in a hospital surrounded by doctors who are “TV good looking.”

As she leaves the hospital in clothes from the lost and found (in actuality, an exact replica of Julia Roberts shopping outfit in Pretty Woman) she discovers her New York, which is smelly and sweaty and full of men to whom she is invisible, has been replaced with a candy-coloured dreamland where only wonderful things happen.

As she tries to figure out what’s happened, she realizes she’s become inexplicably clumsy, that men find her beguiling, and that impromptu group dance numbers are breaking out around her.

This can mean only one thing – through some twist of fate her life is now a romantic comedy!

It’s a tricky balance to mock romantic comedies while telling what is a very traditional romantic comedy story. But the cast, led by a formidable Rebel Wilson, manages to strike a lighthearted tone when poking fun and stays clear of judging those that love the genre.

Along the way they check off all the rom-com must haves: a stunning apartment, a gay best friend who’s always available and appears to have no job other than catering to the leading lady, first dates that leave viewers swooning, big karaoke moments, interrupting a wedding, and poking your head out the sunroof of a limousine while telling someone you love them.

And all to the sweet sounds of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” on repeat – what more could a romantic comedy lover ask for?

Wilson is finally allowed to make the transition from funny best friend to leading lady and does so impressively. Her comedy seems to stem from being 200% committed to any joke, and that dedication carries the weaker moments of the film nicely.

Adam Devine (Wilson’s longtime Pitch Perfect co-star) is the most charming he’s ever been as her work buddy who longs to be more, and Liam Hemsworth shows a previously unknown comedic side as an Australian billionaire who falls head over heels for our heroine.

Add in Priyanka Chopra Jonas as a stunningly beautiful yoga ambassador (the best fake rom-com job in years) and you’ve got a supporting cast that truly supports Wilson’s first leading role.

Isn’t it Romantic will make you laugh more than it will make you swoon, but I promise you’ll still walk away feeling charmed by a slightly subversive take on an old story.

Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia.


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