07th Mar2019

‘Isn’t it Romantic’ Review (Netflix)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine, Priyanka Chopra, Betty Gilpin, Brandon Scott Jones, Jennifer Saunders | Written by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, Katie Silberman | Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson

isnt-romantic-poster

Isn’t it Romantic, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson (The Final Girls), is produced by and also stars Pitch Perfect actress Rebel Wilson; with Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine and Priyanka Chopra in a gloriously subverted romantic comedy. One that revels in the absurdly ridiculous conventions of the genre it derives from, with a razor-sharp screenplay that is full of life and energising wit.

The screenplay by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox and Katie Silberman is the strongest and standout aspect of this fabulously meta-production. Think along the same lines of what Tim Miller’s Deadpool achieves (or Strauss-Schulson’s The Final Girls for that matter) in its satirical approach but replace the generic convention commentary from superhero genre to the romantic comedy sub-genre and you have the same embellished comedic result.

The scale and depth of side gags and self-referential humour are beyond the level of intrusive of your favourite idealistic memories of Pretty Woman and its contemporaries – taking aim at the often-deceitful commentary of such, highlighting the issues and playing with the desired result. Ultimately, while the effect does perhaps wear out sooner rather than later, it harbours a wonderful tongue in cheek approach to the house that built that it. Full of life and a deceptive amount of ironic energy that enraptures its audience.

The performances are equally are as impressive to the source material itself. Rebel Wilson stars, in her first leading lady role, a staggering notion when one considers she had her breakout roll over eight years ago in the Paul Feig directed ensemble Bridesmaids. Wilson is absolutely delightful as Natalie, a character in which Wilson can shine as the central star and not the supporting player she has been accustomed. In Isn’t it Romantic she showcases her dazzling ability to layer wit and poignant weighted elegance. It’s an element of her craft that goes hand in hand with her now fourth-time co-star Adam Devine who undeniably furthers Wilson’s comedy in a wonderful double act of sorts. Devine is terrific and at the pinnacle of humour here, his delivery and nervous disposition on fine form as usual.

Liam Hemsworth and Priyanka Chopra – on the other hand – are a little hit and miss. Hemsworth plays the archetype generic love interest with a subverted expectation embellished in an over the top humorous approach. It works but only on a surface level conviction. Clearly, it’s an intended hollow role but the performance feels more so derivative of his brothers poorly implemented and ultimately wincing performance in Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot in 2016 than a reassuring role that showcases the actor’s range. Chopra sadly just doesn’t have anything to do here with a lacklustre depth and weight from the writer’s end. Chopra doesn’t put any foot wrong here – the actress is perfectly charming and convincing in what is essentially her first western romance film but the picture, unfortunately, paints her as a flat lifeless villain.

Isn’t it Romantic is available to watch on Netflix, in the UK, now.

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