It is with deep regret that we must announce that Isn’t It Romantic, Netflix’s latest offering, is, as the Brits would say, a complete and utter bore. For a film categorised as a romantic comedy, the film is oddly neither.
Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and starring Rebel Wilson (Natalie), Liam Hemsworth (Blake), and Adam DeVine (Josh), Isn’t It Romantic, ‘also’ has Priyanka Chopra (Isabella) in a role as flaky as the film’s screenplay.
As they already revealed in the awfully long trailer, IIR is Natalie’s story. A young architect who has been told by her mother that fairytales are for films, not real life. Fairly decent and realistic advice, one would think. But the filmmakers clearly disagreed and Nat’s disdain for romantic comedies is punished. She gets mugged, hurts herself, goes into a coma and… wakes up in a rom-com version of her life. While in it, she dates Blake (a very goofy Hemsworth), realises she’s in love with Josh (a DeVine waste. Lawl, sorry) and constantly disses Isabella (an OTT Chopra) without any provocation. Yes. ALL of this is in the trailer.
The film tries really, really hard to be meta, but not being in the league of the first Deadpool movie (is anyone?), fails miserably. Through Natalie, the film tries to constantly tell the audience that ITR is about a someone who hates rom-coms every five minutes. JUST in case you’ve forgotten that crucial detail while blinking.
Dory would certainly have no trouble watching this film.
Wilson, who belongs to the Awkward School of Acting, depending on eccentricities and odd one-liners (like in Pitch Perfect) to make her characters seem relatable, was abandoned by the makers without even a hint of a joke to stay afloat in this mess. Poor Hemsworth’s role was limited to looking pretty, while Adam DeVine, who turned out to be the only likeable character in the film, didn’t have much to do apart from existing either.
Priyanka Chopra, as the film’s token person of colour, has been cast to play that stereotypical role Hollywood usually reserves for Latino or black women: that of a hot model with an odd job designation, who the leading lady hates. Watching Chopra, who gave us Barfi once upon a time, (badly) caricature the role of the ‘silly but hot other woman’, was more painful than the film’s many ridiculous song and dance sequences.
So like any decent Netflix addict, as per the Marie Kondo’s KonMari method, we’ve decided to keep Isn’t It Romantic in the pile that does not give us joy. Someone quickly take it away.