Although there are plenty of advantages to residing in rom-com land — including access to a terrific wardrobe, impossibly big apartment, and help from a gay best friend (Brandon Scott Jones) blissfully unencumbered by work concerns — Natalie desperately wants to break the spell. The problem is that she’s unsure what will free her, leading to a rather amusing series of trials and errors before “Isn’t It Romantic” reaches its satisfying (if like everything else in the film, fastidiously chaste) climax.
Wilson puts all of her skills to use, including her comedic chops and singing, the latter shown off in jauntily choreographed, rom-com-worthy production numbers. She’s surrounded by a game group earnestly portraying straight men and women, while all the little technical details — from the music to the production design — niftily reinforce the surreality of this alternate universe.
Todd Strauss-Schulson directed from a screenplay by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox and Katie Silberman, and nobody can accuse them of overstaying their welcome, in a movie that runs less than 90 minutes. In fact, a bit more set-up might have benefited the early going, but abundant energy generally carries the story along.
A logical fit for Valentine’s Day, “Isn’t It Romantic” will actually launch on Netflix outside the US and Canada, joining the streaming service’s fertile romantic comedy niche. While that release pattern might make sense for a relatively modest project, given the crowd-pleasing aspects of this Rebel yell, like its self-deprecating protagonist, that might be selling its appeal a little short.
“Isn’t It Romantic” premieres Feb. 13 in the US. It’s rated PG-13.