Ewan Gleadow

Review: Isn’t It Romantic

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Because who wouldn’t want a deconstruction of the romantic comedy genre starring Rebel Wilson?

Yes, it seems Netflix has returned to their old, soul-crushing ways of producing and financing mediocre content and then dropping it onto their platform, announcing it a day before it’s released. But that’s a system that works for them. It happened with the abysmal Cloverfield Paradox and it has happened once more with Isn’t It Romantic.  

The problem with attempting to destroy genre conventions and clichés is that you often get wrapped up in clichés of an entirely different genre. Or worse, the run into the same clichés you were attempting to avoid. While trying to adapt and destroy the expected tropes of the romcom genre, it invariably throws itself at some of its most obvious stereotypes: girl falls in love with guy, doesn’t recognise the guy she should really be with, and by the end of the film this new equilibrium takes over. 

What’s so genuinely annoying though is that the jokes at the expense of the genre aren’t even that creative or original. The entire premise is a neat formula that doesn’t work. Step one is to identify what the audience will expect. Step two jokes about how that would never happen in the real world. Step three is to allow this to happen. It’s a system that builds itself on being away from the norm, when in actual fact it’s a bit behind the norm. Always playing catch up, trying to crack jokes about the contemporary trends of a genre it tries and fails to mock. 

It’d help if the writing was better than mediocre.

Anything with Adam DeVine in a starring role simply isn’t going to work in regard to both script and performance; our fight in this world is not against domestic terror, corruption or disease, it is against Adam DeVine: his performance is a copy and paste of every other performance he has given. Watching Pitch Perfect 2 and his brief scenes with Rebel Wilson in that movie will give you a summary of their relationship here. 

The rest of the cast are okay, though no-one goes beyond average. There’s one little joke that produces a chuckle-worthy response in light of Luke Hemsworth’s subversion of the Australian accent, but other than that, nothing. Nada. Zilch. Nothing worth turning your head for unless you like soppy visuals and a story you’ll have heard all before.  

A borderline remake of Groundhog Day (the twist here being ‘imagine if Groundhog Day was a bad movie’), Isn’t It Romantic follows a strict formula akin to the Disaster Movie series in that it criticises something it heavily does itself.

Ironically clichéd, with an unsurprisingly bland performance from Rebel Wilson, this film was ultimately a horrifying breach of my quality of life as it required me to sit through yet another Adam DeVine comedy vehicle.