Rebel Wilson’s new movie, Isn’t it Romantic, is not a traditional romantic comedy. It does have romance and it does have comedy, but it subverts both of those genres by playing with your expectations of what a romantic comedy is. The first thing that makes it different from traditional rom-coms is the choice of lead actress. Rebel Wilson has been a comedic actress for years, and she has been in some of the biggest movies of the last decade.
Her role in Bridesmaids certainly got the laughs, but she was playing the foil for Kristen Wiig’s romantic aspirations. In the Pitch Perfect movies, she again played the comic for other characters romantic story lines. Now she is the lead. Read more: Rebel Wilson Joins Cats Movie Musical and Rebel Wilson Isn’t it Romantic First Book
Her cynicism of finding love in New York City lends a credibility to her character that one would not find in the somewhat naive leads in normal romantic movies. The early mention of Julia Roberts begins a series of allusions to the romantic comedies that have become famous. Learn more about Rebel Wilson: https://www.thelist.com/41472/stunning-transformation-rebel-wilson/
In the vein of I Feel Pretty, a film also starring an actress one might not associate with romance, Rebel Wilson also bemoans the realistic nature of romantic comedies, and the negative effects they have on young girls.
They are an unattainable illusion that has caused many to criticize them. That has not stopped them being some of the most beloved movies ever made. Rebel Wilson’s character is firmly in the camp of not buying into the images in romantic comedies.
That is until she wakes up in one, accompanied by all of the tropes of traditional rom-coms. It has the soundtrack you would expect, the romantic rival, dance numbers, and the visuals that you would find in most romantic comedies.
The fish out of water theme has been done before, but this is more a commentary on these types of films. Far from mocking these types of movies as nonsense, she just wants to draw attention to the fact that they are not reality.
By finding love in the end, Rebel Wilson shows that while these types of movies in no way represent the normal person, normal people can still get the ending traditional found in these movies. A movie like this would of course not work with a traditional lead actress.
That would avoid any of the themes Wilson is discussing. Just as Wilson was probably not the first thing Hollywood would traditionally look for, she shows in this movie that anyone can be a part of the world Hollywood portrays.