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“Isn’t It Romantic” Satirizes Rom-Coms

By Benton Shepherd

This past Valentine’s Day, there was no shortage of television specials and movies to enjoy with that special someone. During this most amorous time of year there is nothing better than a good romantic comedy. One of the most popular movies of this genre this year is Isn’t It Romantic. The movie brings a new style of romantic comedy with a self-aware protagonist that is satirically funny and definitely worth seeing, especially if you think that most of these types of movies are cliché and predictable.

The movie stars Rebel Wilson and is directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson. Wilson plays Natalie, an Australian architect living in New York City (NYC) who does not believe that the way love is portrayed in the movies holds true for real life. She is unappreciated at her job and is unhappy with her looks. Then, when trying to stop a mugger, she hits her head on a metal beam in a subway station and wakes up to find herself in a romantic-comedy version of NYC. Everything in her life has changed, and to get back to the normal world she has to make someone fall in love with her.

One entertaining twist to Isn’t It Romantic is making the main character aware that it is PG-13, which she notices almost as soon as she wakes up in the alternate universe. Her attempts to curse or have sex are foiled by either a scene change or some creative censorship. The fact that no one else is aware of this, thinking it is normal, adds to the humor. For example, Natalie and love-interest Blake, played by Liam Hemsworth, decide to hook up, but the scene cuts to the following morning without anything happening. Natalie knows this, but her partner does not understand despite her best efforts to tell him.

The writers employ the clichés of nearly every romantic comedy and proceed to make fun of it through having a self-aware protagonist. From doves flying in a perfect heart shape, to having nothing but bright colors, to meeting a good-looking man on the street named Blake by random chance, the picture perfect world is offset by Natalie seeing it for what it really is. This is what differentiates Isn’t It Romantic from other pictures of its genre; the choices that would normally make it tiresome and boring are turned into comedic material. The movie acts as a parody of classic rom-coms to highlight the faults in them.

Additionally, Wilson is perfect to play the self-aware young maiden, she is able to comedically point out the now boring devices used and make a potentially bad movie amusing.

Isn’t It Romantic serves to show people that the way love is portrayed in the movies is a far cry from what really happens. Life is hard and love is not always easy. In ironic fashion, it gives people hope that maybe they will get at least a taste of what it is like to be in a picture-perfect romance. This is the primary appeal of romantic comedies to begin with, and even though Natalie’s story is meant to highlight the faults in this type of narrative and make fun of the people who believe in it, the audience is left with a similar feeling after watching it.

Isn’t It Romantic brings a new style of romantic comedy to the mainstream through a self-aware protagonist. It is satirically funny and definitely worth seeing with that special someone, especially if you think the traditional conventions used are cliché and predictable.

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