Cast: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam DeVine, Priyanka Chopra
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
What happens when the world of your dreams crashes in reality? You realise your mistake and make efforts to move on. Well, this has been the theme of countless films, especially rom-coms, and Isn’t It Romantic is probably one of them. The only difference is that it takes a satirical look at all such previous films and tries using those done-to-death plot points in its favour.
Isn’t It Romantic features an overweight architect Natalie (Rebel Wilson), who, as you must have guessed by now, thinks she is not up for love, because why would anybody love her! Other usual tropes of body positivity films such as a hot but ill-mannered guy, a lovable co-worker and a gay friend without any real job are used leisurely. However, the problem is that director Todd Strauss-Schulson has ended up a victim of all those things he intends to make fun of.
It might have looked like a smart move in the beginning as it would help the audience identify with the clichés, but then nobody actually takes them away from the shining world free of faded benches and uncovered manholes. What is designed as a funny commentary offers nothing more than what it preaches against.
So, Rebel Wilson’s Natalie meets with a mugging accident on a New York subway platform and suddenly finds the whole world around her changed. Which technically means a sermon on ‘believe in power of love’ leading up to ‘you’re lovable.’ Thanks to Wilson’s understanding of the space, you willingly travel inside the streets of airbrushed New York, totally different from the real one.
Guess where all this is heading up? To the conclusion—I am worth loving because I love myself. Oversimplification kills the whole satirical set-up.
It’s understandable though. Strauss-Schulson wants to keep the twist, rather his take, for the penultimate moments. He needs a build-up for it to work, but the noble intention is lost in the process.
Though Priyanka Chopra, who plays a yoga ambassador Isabella, adds quirks while aptly supported by a friendly, dreamy-eyed Josh (Adam DeVine), a boy next table in Natalie’s office. Chopra knows the limitations of the arena she is operating in and tries her best to not turn into the only bad person in the entire façade. Her zing makes Isn’t It Romantic bearable despite being so unidirectional.
In fact, the 88-minute drama is saved because of Wilson and Chopra. To be honest, it has strong Bollywood imprints—urban, polished, nuclear and catchy tunes. You get to see two conflicting worlds colliding and becoming one huge set full of colourful vibes packed with background dancers. Who would want to see an overweight yet talented woman excel in her career anyway, right?
Isn’t It Romantic is a novel thought but it doesn’t hold on to the initial energy. I just wish the script could have given more scope to Wilson. Who knows, she might have given it a new dimension. Wasn’t she the real force behind Pitch Perfect?
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