Isn't It Romantic (Blu-ray Review)
Release Date(s)2019 (May 21, 2019)
Studio(s)Warner Bros. (Warner Home Video)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C
Isn’t It Romantic satirizes the tropes of cinematic romantic comedies while simultaneously embracing them. Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is an entry-level architect at a New York firm where everyone takes advantage of her good nature. Her expectations of life are low, and she is inherently cynical because her life isn’t great.
When a mugger attempts to rob her in the subway, she bangs into a steel support and is knocked unconscious. On awakening, she’s in a whole other universe. The emergency room looks like a layout in House Beautiful, her doctor looks like a movie star, and everyone seems unusually cheery. When she gets home, her block appears to be a magical street filled with pastel-colored signs, smiling people, a multitude of flowers, and not a speck of grime. Her tiny, cluttered apartment is now a stylish, spacious showplace. Men suddenly think she's vivacious, and a billionaire (Liam Hemsworth) who previously insulted her at work now finds her beguiling. Yet rather than enjoy being the star of her own romantic comedy and embracing this new, lovely life, she feels trapped.
In this new, Disney-esque alternate universe, Natalie’s unfriendly next-door neighbor Donny (Brandon Scott Jones) has become her gay best pal, while timid work assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin), an actual fan of romantic comedies, is now a mean, vindictive competitor.
Ms. Wilson, who stole the movie Pitch Perfect and has been a strong supporting comic character in films since, gets her first chance starring in her own movie. There’s a genuineness and a sweet quality about her that make us empathize with Natalie’s trials and tribulations in the real world. She’s one of life’s misfits, who doesn’t even recognize the interest shown her by co-worker Josh (Adam Devine), the only person she can speak to comfortably. In her rom-com fantasy world, she begins to see that Adam might be the right one for her until “yoga ambassador” Isabella (Priyanka Chopra) enters the picture as a rival for Josh’s affections.
Isn’t It Romantic draws on movie clichés as it pokes fun at them. The relationship between Rebel’s Natalie and Hemsworth’s rich suitor provides some of the movie’s funniest moments, particularly a Groundhog Day-inspired scene in which a bare-chested Hemsworth, fresh out of the shower, repeatedly emerges from the bathroom looking pleased with their lovemaking the night before.
Rated PG-13, Isn’t It Romantic is a clever variation on the Cinderella theme as channeled through a contemporary career woman who finds true happiness when she doesn’t know where to look. And be advised: stick around after the credits start to roll. You’ll be in for a treat.
The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack contains 2 discs plus a Digital Copy code found on a paper insert. The release features 1080p High Definition resolution and a widescreen aspect ratio is 2.4:1. Color palette is fairly muted in the early scenes showing Natalie in her workplace. Office decor tends to neutral grays and browns. Once Natalie awakens in the hospital, colors are brighter and she is dressed in brighter colors – white, yellow, red, and purple – to suggest her new self-confidence. Her block has been transformed from an ordinary street into a sun-drenched, pastel-hued fairyland. Multi-colored flowers are everywhere. A scene in a karaoke bar puts Natalie, embarrassed to be performing in front of a crowd, under a yellow light. When other patrons chime in and become a supporting chorus, brief splashes of color liven the dimly lit bar. The outdoor finale harks back to classic MGM musicals as “average” people magically transform into professional dancers shot with elaborate camera work heightened by dozens of quick cuts and snappy editing.
Audio is English 5.1 DTS-High Definition Master Audio. Soundtracks are English, English descriptive, French and Spanish. Available subtitles are French, Spanish and English for the hard-of-hearing. Dialogue is clear and distinct throughout. Sound mixing is very good, particularly in the bar scene with music, ambient sound, and dialogue balanced just right. Volume is amped up for the production number finale to enhance excitement.
Bonus features include the featurette I Wanna Dance and deleted scenes.
I Wanna Dance – Director Todd Strauss-Schulson explains how choreography in the musical numbers was coordinated precisely to the pre-recorded music. Details, such as glasses being slammed onto the bar, the bartender working the taps, a cocktail shaker, and ice cubes being dropped into glasses simultaneously are synced to the beat of the music. The bar number builds with “eruptions of love and support coming at” Natalie. Director Strauss-Schulson wanted the finale to be “visually robust.” According to actor Adam Devine, the finale production number was shot five times “before we nailed it.” Rebel Wilson describes the number as having “so many nods to classical movie musicals.” Devine and Priyanka Chopra describe their experiences filming this big sequence.
Deleted Scenes – Four deleted scenes are included:
Scene 34 - Closet Therapy
Scene 40 - Monument to Love
Scene 46 - Tub for Two
Scene 54 - A Good Surprise
– Dennis Seuling