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‘Isn’t It Romantic’ is a rom-com for the realistic

Written By Amanda Myers, Co-Features Editor

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Everyone has moments where they feel invisible. It may be at school, work, walking down the street, whatever, but when you’re in a rom-com – the world moves around you.

That’s the case for “Isn’t It Romantic,” a comedy with a commentary regarding how unrealistic standards and expectations are stemmed as a result of the rom-com. 

Rebel Wilson plays Natalie, a New York architect that wouldn’t know what love was if it hit her in the form of a truck (even if she does get injured in reference to the famous “The Wedding Planner” dumpster “dive”). In the opening scene, we see a young Natalie mesmerized by Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.” Her happy ending is crushed, however, when her mom tells her that a girl like her would never get that kind of fantasy.

Fast forward to her current life where we see Natalie is treated like a doormat at her job and pretty much everywhere else. She doesn’t value herself, so she allows others to dictate her choices. When an altercation at a subway station goes awry, things change drastically: Natalie wakes up in her own rom-com.

This feels like an embodiment of the underworld to her: pastel colored buildings, large bouquets of flowers lining the streets, a hint of lavender in the air. What’s worse, this is a PG-13 universe. That means no swearing, no nudity.

This comes of frustration when she attempts to get steamy with her hunky, daft love interest Blake (Liam Hemsworth). Blake embodies every stereotypically romantic gesture: he stands out of the sunroofs of limos, has date nights on his yacht and sneaks her into ice cream parlors for a late-night snack.

Natalie still has people from her real life to fall back on, though. Her co-worker and friend Josh (Adam DeVine) has been a constant source of reliance, with Natalie oblivious to his romantic suggestions. He too finds a version of an unrealistically attractive love interest in the form of Priyanka Chopra, who plays a yoga ambassador – whatever that is – named Isabella.

The concept of “Isn’t It Romantic” relies on identifying these stereotypes, but also setting out to prove that these people are beyond that, in most cases. Natalie’s gay best friend is Donny (Brandon Scott Jones), her “stoner” roommate turned sass queen with no responsibilities other than being comedic relief. When Donny gives Natalie a ride to her job on his moped and quips about how he doesn’t have a job, Natalie asks him if he’s going to get one. There is silence as “A Thousand Miles” plays on in the background.

We almost get that dramatic movie makeover scene thanks to Donny, but are robbed when Natalie insists that it’s not going to happen (maybe in the sequel). But just when Natalie thinks she has it all: the perfect boyfriend, dream job, outrageous apartment, she starts to come to her senses.

This may be a romantic fantasy, but why must one follow the same linear plot to find happiness? Even if Natalie denies herself of that idealized version of love in the end, she finds it through leading by rom-com principles. As shallow as we make rom-coms to be, there’s some pretty important life lessons to be gained from them.

“13 Going on 30,” “Notting Hill” and “Maid in Manhattan” all have women confronting love in one form or another. They wind up finding their match in the end, but not before coming to terms with the kind of woman they want to be.

“Isn’t It Romantic” works because it both rejects and ravishes the rom com, letting viewers decide which path is the most fruitful.

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