Isn’t it Romantic Parent Guide
This bouncy, bubbly spoof of the romantic comedy genre is lots of fun, except for the unnecessary profanity and sexual innuendo.
Parent Movie Review
Natalie (Rebel Wilson) hates romantic comedies because “They’re lies set to terrible pop songs.” She complains to her friends, Josh (Adam Devine) and Whitney (Betty Gilpin) about the clichés found in the genre – the gay best friend who doesn’t have a job, the female office nemesis, the iconic stopping-the-wedding scene. Natalie looks at her life - small apartment, lonely social calendar, and a job where she is overlooked and undervalued – and decrees that rom-coms are deceptive fantasies.
Then everything changes. Natalie is concussed after a subway mugging and wakes up in a different world. Her apartment is large and full of shoes, her terse neighbor, Donny (Brandon Scott Jones) has morphed into her gay sidekick, Whitney is trying to destroy her career, and she is being determinedly pursued by handsome billionaire Blake (Liam Hemsworth). The only thing that feels familiar is Josh – until he has a meet-cute with swimsuit model Isabella (Priyanka Chopra). Panicking in this unfamiliar universe, Natalie frantically tries to figure out how to get back to her own reality. Since this rom-com spoof is still a romantic comedy, we know it will involve falling in love. But with whom?
Isn’t It Romantic? covers familiar ground but it does so with a pronounced wink to the audience. The song and dance numbers, the over-the-top dinner dates, the kiss in the rain – all the quintessential rom-com elements are here but are presented tongue in cheek. The plot doesn’t take itself too seriously either as it follows its familiar track. But the story is told with such sparkle, energy and humor that moviegoers are unlikely to complain about recycled familiar elements – especially when they are told with such a wry twist.
What viewers are likely to complain about is the production’s excessive use of profanity. A feel good movie like this doesn’t need the almost four dozen curses, terms of deity and crude words that are liberally sprinkled throughout the dialogue. And it doesn’t need the vulgar sexual innuendo, particularly a conversation between Natalie and Donny where they have a detailed discussion about the size of Blake’s genitals. The film also reprises the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having” moment from When Harry Met Sally, which parents might not want their kids to watch. Isn’t It Romantic? would also be better without a scene where Natalie slams back four shots of hard liquor to get her courage up and without Donny’s real world discussion about dealing marijuana to teenage girls.
These negative content issues are particularly disappointing because they spoil a film that is otherwise a great product for teens. It delivers solid messages about self-respect, self-esteem, being assertive, and “owning” your own life. Parents looking for a film that will encourage their daughters to “lean in” could start here. But parents will want to balance their enthusiasm for these messages with their tolerance for the movie’s less praiseworthy content.
At the beginning of the movie, Natalie’s mother says, “They’ll never make a movie about girls like us. It would be so sad they’d have to sprinkle Prozac in the popcorn or the audience would try to kill themselves.” She is wrong: at the screening I attended the audience laughed frequently and the theater was filled with the buzz that comes with a funny movie. Isn’t It Romantic? may or may not make everyone’s checklist for family viewing, but it will almost certainly tick all the boxes for a profitable romantic fantasy.Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson. Starring Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, and Adam Devine. Running time: 89 minutes. Theatrical release February 13, 2019. Updated February 14, 2019
Watch the trailer for Isn’t it Romantic
Isn’t it Romantic
Rating & Content Info
Why is Isn’t it Romantic rated PG-13? Isn’t it Romantic is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for language, some sexual material, and a brief drug reference
Violence: A man mimes shooting guns with his fingers. A woman mimes shooting herself in the head. A man punches a woman and tries to steal her purse. She punches him in the groin and runs into a metal pillar, knocking herself out. A woman is rescued as she tries to fall in front of a train. A man breaks into an ice cream store. A woman throws flowers and later an alarm clock out her window. A woman rips out an I.V. and blood sprays onto the doctor.
Sexual Content: A woman jokes about trampolining in the nude. A woman says that her hands are on a man’s “junk”. A man talks about koalas having chlamydia. A man and woman enjoy a very long kiss on the street and in the hallway of her apartment. She rips his shirt off in the hallway. She wakes up in her bed and the man talks about a sexual relationship that she doesn’t think happened. There are other instances where men and women kiss. There is a fair bit of sexual innuendo in this film including a joke about gay sex, innuendo about crabs, and an allusion to the famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene in When Harry Met Sally. A woman and her gay friend have a fairly detailed discussion about the size of another man’s genitals. A woman holds onto her breasts while she is running. Two men kiss each other and joke about gay stereotypes.
Profanity: There are 44 uses of curses and crude language in this movie, including 20 terms of deity, 12 scatological curses, one sexual expletive, four derogatory terms for women, three anatomical terms, and a handful of other crude words. A sexual hand gesture is shown and a woman is shown mouthing a sexual expletive on five occasions, although the word itself is not heard. A man makes a joke about a miracle performed by Jesus which might offend Christian viewers.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There is occasional social drinking. A mother drinks alcohol around her child. The main character is shown downing four shots of spirits to get her courage up before performing karaoke. A man talks about dealing marijuana and jokes about selling it to teenage girls.
Page last updated February 14, 2019
Isn’t it Romantic Parents' Guide
Natalie is treated like the office coffee girl instead of as a capable professional. Does she do anything to contribute to the problem? Are there systemic or social issues that undervalue women at work? What do you think Natalie could do to change her situation? What do you think employers can do to create workplaces where women feel valued?
Romantic comedies are a popular genre, particularly with female viewers. Why do you think they are so well loved? Do you agree with Natalie’s opinion about rom-coms? Do you think rom-coms are a harmless escape or do you think watching them creates unrealistic expectations?
Read books about Isn’t it Romantic
Jessica Brody’s In Some Other Life: A Novel tells the story of Kennedy Rhodes, who hits her head and wakes up having chosen a different school three years ago.
In Two Summers, Aimee Friedman recounts the time when Summer Everett’s summer splits into two different worlds – one spent in France and one at home. But which one is real?
What if you discover that your life is just a façade? Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez features a heroine who discovers that her father – and her entire life – are not what she thought they were.
Parents who want to teach this movie’s lessons about self-esteem can start early with Grace Byers’ I Am Enough. This picture book has great messages about valuing one’s own distinct gifts and talents and can be read and enjoyed by anyone.
Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl features a shy, anxious princess forced by betrayal and attempted murder to discover her own strength and value her unique gifts.
Willowdean Dixon, known as Dumplin’ to her beauty queen mom, is tired of being badgered about her weight. In Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’, Willowdean enters the local beauty pageant and changes her world.