#REVIEW: “ISN’T IT ROMANTIC”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
When we first meet a teenaged Natalie, she is in front of a TV set swooning over Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Her mother (Ab Fab’s Jennifer Saunders in a delicious cameo) curtly says that Romantic-Comedies are tripe and that kind of love would never be in her daughter’s future, as “lovely she is not”. Fast-forward years later and Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is a junior Architect, living and working in New York City. She’s insecure, unassertive and a bit of an office mouse. When she is about to present her designs to a billionaire Hotelier (Liam Hemsworth), he mistakes her for an office flunky and orders coffee. Natalie has an assistant, addicted to watching Rom-Coms during working hours (Betty Gilpin), and a Co-worker (Adam Devine) that she is oblivious to his romantic overtures towards her and believes all his furtive stares in her direction while at the office are really for the huge billboard seen from her window that showcases Priyanka Chopra in all her beauty.
Waking-up from a comatose state in a hospital bed after a mugging gone wrong, Natalie finds herself in a whole new world. All the doctors in the hospital are handsome and flirtatious, New York City is spotless with fresh flowers on every corner. Her dumpy apartment now looks like a spread from Architectural Digest and her grumpy neighbour has morphed into her hyper gay Bestie (Brandon Scott Jones). Most importantly, the self-centered Hotelier has fallen madly in love with her. ISN’T IT ROMANTIC centers around Natalie’s and tribulations as she tries to make sense of this new found reality of hers.
In the interest of full disclosure, I went to see ISN’T IT ROMANTIC with trepidation as the Trailer showed many similarities to last year’s Amy Schumer Comedy “I Feel Pretty”, but I was very curious as to how Rebel Wilson would come across in her first movie lead role. The trepidation melted away almost immediately. Not only can she command the screen, she owns it. Wilson shares the laughs with her talented Co-stars and never once overshadows them. Liam Hemsworth sparkles and seems to genuinely enjoy making fun of his good looks. The same goes for Priyanka Chopra. There is a wonderful chemistry between Wilson and Adam Devine, who have worked together in the Pitch Perfect series. And Brandon Scott Jones is screamingly-funny.
Reviewing a Comedy is one of the hardest gigs in the world as you try not give away a brilliant punchline or circumstance. But there is a wealth of humour on the screen. If you are a Rom-Com fan, you will love the over 100 references and take-offs on other movies in that Genre. From Pretty Woman and Titanic to My Best Friend’s Wedding and Carrie’s closet in Sex and the City, the Movie is visually-exhilarating and very much like playing Where’s Waldo. Furthermore, after bemoaning the fact that her romantic liaisons with Liam seem to be PG-13 rated, every time Natalie blurts out an obscenity, the words are never heard due to a car honking or an alarm clock ringing. This bit is repeated quite often to great effect that when Rebel Wilson finally blurts out the F-bomb, it is Comedic Gold!
Lastly, I loved that this Movie goes a Bollywood route and ends with a wonderful song and dance. The fact that it was to my all-time favourite Madonna song made it all the more enjoyable.
ISN’T IT ROMANTIC is pure glee and will even appeal to those who avoid Rom-Coms. Comedies now have a new leading lady in Rebel Wilson and I can’t wait to see what she does next!
Warner Bros. Canada release ISN’T IT ROMANTIC Wednesday, February 13, 2019.