Rom Coms are an often maligned genre. Much like Horror, if a Rom Com is done well, people try and argue it is not really a Rom Com. This is a lot to do with the fact that Rom Coms have a pretty solid formula that has worked for a long time.
Isn’t It Romantic attempts to mock the formula by working from within. Natalie was thrilled by Romantic Comedies as a child, until her mother made it clear that she would never be desirable and needed to settle for pretty much anything she gets in life.
So when we find her as an adult, she is a meek woman, interested in her male best friend Josh (who clearly thinks the best of her and is constantly trying to get her to step outside her walls). She is walked over by her coworkers who do not take her ideas seriously. After a mugging goes way awry, Natalie wakes up in an amazing hospital emergency room greeted by an incredibly handsome doctor.
Natalie finds that New York is now smelling better, her apartment is gigantic and her dog is well groomed. Natalie tries to find her way out and decides the only choice she has is to play by the rules of a Rom Com.
The film indulges all the tropes with a wink, some too far better effect than others. The inability to actually get to have sex with handsome suitors is pretty amusing.
At the same time, early in the film, we get an extended sequence where Natalie explains why Romantic Comedies are toxic where we are told exactly what we will experience. The film also does nothing to really develop any of the characters outside Natalie. Josh gets the most development as a character, at least enough to get why she likes him. And while it is entirely predictable that they are going to end up together, it is at least understandable that the two always had feelings for each other.
Isn’t It Romantic does manage to subvert certain of its core criticisms of the genre and the cast is entertaining enough in spite of the lack of character development. It is not as genre busting as it sets out to be, but it has its moments.