“Isn’t It Romantic” tries to have its pink velvet cupcake and eat it too, and although it’s tasty and pleasant when you’re watching it, you’ll notice how hungry you’re for one thing heartier quickly after you’ve come down out of your sugar excessive.
Insurgent Wilson is constantly charming, although, and sport as at all times for the whole lot that comes her means—each pratfall and dance sequence, each sight gag and befuddled response shot. “Isn’t It Romantic” is as excessive a excessive idea as you’ll be able to think about: A lady who hates romantic comedies finds herself caught inside one. You can give all the elevator pitch within the time it takes to press the button for the ground you need. However the brassy Aussie finds subtlety and sweetness inside this broad premise together with her trademark sly, deadpan supply. She’s raunchy however tender and simple to root for—a lot so, that you simply’ll want “Isn’t It Romantic” had taken much more possibilities and allowed her the chance to do the identical.
The movie from director Todd Strauss-Schulson (“A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas”) and screenwriters Erin Cardillo and Dana Fox & Katie Silberman locations Wilson on the heart of a tough balancing act. “Isn’t It Romantic” concurrently ridicules and embraces the numerous, many clichés of the rom-com style. It is aware of these films are pure components, and it makes enjoyable of that components in myriad and amusing methods, together with overt references to such predecessors as “Fairly Girl,” “Notting Hill” and “13 Occurring 30.” However by the top, it’s additionally just about delivered that very same components with honest enthusiasm, which makes the entire train really feel like a little bit of pointless wheel-spinning.
It’s a troublesome feat to drag off, whatever the style. Edgar Wright managed it superbly along with his Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy of “Shaun of the Lifeless,” “Scorching Fuzz” and “The World’s Finish.” “They Got here Collectively,” the 2014 romantic comedy spoof starring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, was extra apparent in taking intention at its targets and, most of the time, fell flat. “Isn’t It Romantic” largely coasts on Wilson’s likability and the facility of recognition: a very overused music, some hackneyed character traits, a well-worn narrative gadget or a tidy means of wrapping issues as much as obtain a cheerful ending. However each every so often, it has one thing to say about what’s problematic about these acquainted movie tropes. Why should the heroine at all times have a flamboyantly homosexual BFF, and why does he haven’t any lifetime of his personal outdoors of hers? Why should she have a feminine workplace rival who hates her for no obvious cause, when they need to be working collectively to topple the patriarchy?
Some meals for thought right here and there, however “Isn’t It Romantic” largely serves pleasing, bite-sized nibbles.
Wilson offers it her all, although, as Natalie, a younger, single lady residing in a dingy New York condo and dealing as an architect at a agency the place nobody appreciates her. That’s, apart from her work pal Josh (Wilson’s playful “Pitch Good” co-star Adam Devine), who clearly has a crush on her whereas dwelling within the good friend zone. At some point on the way in which dwelling from work, she will get mugged on a subway platform, bonks her head and wakes up within the hospital. Abruptly, the world round her has reworked. It’s a wonderland of flattering lighting and flirty medical doctors. Flowers and cupcakes are all over the place. The bustling NYC streets odor like lavender and the tinkling piano of Vanessa Carlton’s catchy “A Thousand Miles” follows her wherever she goes. Her surly neighbor from throughout the corridor is now a stereotypically wisecracking homosexual man who loves makeover montages (Brandon Scott Jones, who will get loads of zingers). And in one of many sharpest insights, Natalie now lives in an impossibly spacious, stylish condo with insane quantities of closet house for her huge shoe assortment—the type of actual property only a few folks might realistically afford.
Sure, she now lives within the very type of romantic comedy she’s lengthy despised. (And sure, for these of you retaining rating at dwelling, that’s two films in as many weeks wherein our heroine suffers a head damage and wakes as much as a distinct life, between this and “What Males Need.”)
Natalie’s process is to determine what life lesson she should be taught so as to return to her common life. However she nonetheless takes time to benefit from the fantasy, together with a whirlwind romance with a rich, hunky actual property developer (an earnest and goofy Liam Hemsworth) that features a candlelight dinner on his yacht and a helicopter journey to the Hamptons. (Their dramatic first kiss within the rain – in the midst of the road the place the Empire State Constructing and the Chrysler Constructing look like solely a few block away from one another—is nice for a chuckle.) In the meantime, Josh will get to take pleasure in his personal out-of-this-world love affair with Priyanka Chopra’s impossibly beautiful and glamorous swimsuit mannequin/yoga ambassador—the type of passionate relationship that naturally opens Natalie’s eyes to what she’d been lacking all alongside.
In fact, all of it concludes with a mad sprint to make some last-minute, very public proclamations of affection, adopted by a second dance quantity when the primary exuberant one alone would have been simply effective. By the top, all of it looks like overkill, and the film barely lasts 90 minutes (and couldn’t have sustained its central gimmick for much longer). However your face will harm from smiling so arduous—and chances are you’ll actually have a toothache afterward.