Isn’t it Romantic is the Rom-Com Women Need Right Now


As someone who has watched probably hundreds of romantic comedies in her life, let me give you the breakdown of how rom-coms work. While there are variations, the rom-com usually features a beautiful white and heterosexual career woman (sadly) living in a big city who is cynical about love. And for some reason, she has a best friend sidekick (often a stereotypical token black or gay friend). Then, enter a pretty white man who the lead character usually doesn’t want to be with—at first, anyway. But, ninety minutes later, when the sexual tension builds, she realizes that her and the man are a perfect match and then, despite some obstacles, she runs after the man before it is too late in order to proclaim her love for him (usually saying “I love you” like after a week or a month). Then, they ride off together in the sunset and live happily ever after.

Now although rom-coms can be cute and feel-good, in reality, they have many tropes and issues that I really hate. Some of these issues include subtle notes of racism and sexism, the overall message that you have to be straight, white, able-bodied and pretty to find love, and then when you find a man, he is supposed to complete you and you will be happy forever. It’s like, these movies can’t even imagine the idea of a happy, successful single woman with different backgrounds and experiences.

So, in a world with the #metoo movement and a greater awareness of the importance of representation in the media, how can you create a rom-com that doesn’t piss everybody off? Like think about it, when was the last time that you saw a Hollywood rom-com that wasn’t made by Hallmark or Netflix at Christmas time? Nothing comes to mind for me personally.

Now enter Isn’t It Romantic, a film that shows the life of Natalie (Rebel Wilson), an architect living in New York who is often unappreciated at work and is pessimistic when it comes to love, especially when it comes to love shown in romantic comedies. Sound familiar? Then, after banging her head and getting knocked unconscious, she wakes up and realizes that she is trapped in a real-life romantic comedy and the only way is to escape is to find love. I know that it may sound a little cheesy, but stay with me, it gets really good.

Now what makes Isn’t It Romantic better than other rom-coms? Good question. It’s because the entire film makes fun of itself and all the tropes that come with typical romantic comedies. Once Natalie bumps her head and becomes trapped in the romantic-comedy world, it is incredibly funny to see how the film’s creators poke fun at the popular and unrealistic tropes seen in these movies. I won’t spoil them all for you, but I promise that you will laugh out loud. One of my favourite tropes that’s mocked is when she repeatedly tries to hook up with Blake (Liam Hemsworth), but it keeps cutting to the next morning as the “movie” rom-com world is PG-13.  

Although there were several tropes in the movie that were hilarious when the writers made fun of them, there were also other tropes that were mocked which show how concerning rom-coms can really be. The first trope they show in rom-coms which I find messed up is how Natalie is given a sidekick, Donny (Brandon Scott Jones), a gay character who does not have a job and is only there to help Natalie find love. This is a deeply concerning message to me about the views that typical rom-coms have about homosexuality. Another trope that Isn’t it Romantic touches on that often bugs me in rom-coms is how although Natalie has a co-worker and friend in the real world named Whitney (Betty Giplin), in the alternative romantic comedy world, Whitney is Natalie’s enemy who is competing with her for a new promotion. The idea that Whitney hates Natalie in this romantic world deeply upsets Natalie as she cannot understand how in this modern age, people cannot grasp that women can be friends who build each other up, not just enemies who tear each other down. Although some of the tropes that Isn’t It Romantic mocks are hilarious, there are other tropes that the creators mock in order to highlight larger fundamental issues about the sexist and homophobic dark side of rom-coms.

My favourite part of the movie though is when Natalie is in the alternative rom-com world and realizes that she’s in love with her co-worker and good friend, Josh (Adam Devine), who is about to get married to Isabella (Priyanka Chopra). However, when she runs into the church to call off Josh and Isabella’s wedding, she looks at Josh, preparing to profess her love for him before she says, “I love…me.” Although Natalie and Josh end up getting together in the real world, Natalie becomes a strong and confident badass who loves herself for exactly who she is.

I believe that Isn’t It Romantic is the rom-com women need right now because it gives women the powerful message that you need to love yourself first before you can love anybody else. In the world of the #metoo movement and the ever-increasing importance of feminism, I love how this movie is funny and cute while still creating a strong message about the importance of women building each other up, marginalized people no longer being “sidekicks” in other people’s stories, and women needing to love and be happy with themselves before looking for love.


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