James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
James C. Clay // Film Critic
ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?
This year in film has been very kind to the romantic comedy genre. There have been several like LONG SHOT and Netflix’s SOMEONE GREAT that have wowed critics and audiences, gaining a broad appeal. It’s been great to see genres progress into something genuinely creative and joyous.
However, there was one film this year that tore down those barriers with a spoof that deconstructs the romantic comedy cliches as well as being a celebratory piece of the genre as a whole. That film is Todd Strauss Schulson’s funny and unabashedly endearing ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, starring Rebel Wilson (of the PITCH PERFECT films) in a career-best performance.
The film hits Blu-ray this week and has been available on digital for some time. Before we discuss the features (or lack thereof), take a look at Courtney Howard’s theatrical review of the film:
“From a young age, thirty-something Natalie (Rebel Wilson) has had it ingrained in her psyche that there are no happy endings for girls like her. It’s turned her into a cynic and a pushover when it comes to love and happiness. Not helping matters is the fact that she gets no respect from her dog, let alone her co-workers at a middling architecture firm in New York City. Her only friends are project manager Josh (Adam Devine), who (surprise!) has puppy dog eyes for her, and her mousy assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin), whom she lets obsessively watch movies during working hours.
Natalie’s world changes instantly when, during a botched subway mugging, she gets a concussion and awakens to find herself in a breathtaking fantasy land filled with tons of flowers, rain-slicked streets and immaculately-dressed, attractive strangers. Her apartment has gotten larger and it’s now filled with awesome furniture and a perfectly curated closet. Even her neighbor Donny (Brandon Scott Jones) has morphed into her gay BFF. Everyone is perpetually perky and no one is allowed to swear. It’s not long before it dawns on her that she’s trapped in her worst nightmare – a PG-13 romantic comedy.
Overall, this is pure unadulterated joy for both defenders and disparagers of the genre. With a lead actress who’s easily one of the brightest and funniest in her field, and a devilishly clever screenplay, this film leaves audiences feeling like Meg Ryan in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY: Screaming out “YES!” in answer to the titular question.”
It’s true ISN’T IT ROMANTIC was one of the more surprising breathes of fresh air in the mainstream cinema landscape this year. But are there any special features? The polite answer is nope. For a film bursting with creativity, the disc lacks any sort of commentary or voice from its creators, which is disappointing.
Strauss-Schulson somehow got his voice across in this studio comedy and provides fans of the film a look inside what would have been such an illuminating aspect to this release. Maybe there were scheduling conflicts or budget issues, but what really matters is this little gift of a movie that people will have on repeat for years.
Deleted Scenes – These can add to a film, but with a comedy… not so much. Usually, it’s alternate takes of an actor doing improv on set that can add to a film. ISN’T IT ROMANTIC was a tight and breezy film, so these are essentially useless.
I WANNA DANCE! – Yes, we all love Whitney Houston’s boppy pop song from the 80s, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and the film has a fun (if not played out) karaoke rendition of the song. You’ll spend five minutes and delve into how this scene was made with Rebel Wilson and Priyanka Chopra.