By Subhash K. Jha
Film: “Isn’t It Romantic”; Director: Tod-Strauss Schulson; Cast: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine and Priyanka Chopra; Rating: * (1 star)
First things first. What is Priyanka Chopra doing playing a frisky floozie in this bird-turd of a film? Second question: why are we expected to invest 90 minutes in what looks like a rejected episode of “Inside Amy Schumer”?
“Isn’t It Romantic” is just plainly and simply awful. A bird-brained plot, it casts the overweight Rebel Wilson as Natalie, who is shown as incurably romantic in her childhood (she watches “Pretty Woman” like a Delhi housewife eyeing the lead singer at a ‘Mata Jagran’).
Mom lectures little Natalie on the impossibility of romantic love in this cynical world. And voila! The daughter is transformed into a diehard cynic.
Or, is she just running away from the fact that when you are Size XL, the chances of finding an eligible match are proportionally slim?
So, the film has a solution. It turns all romantic notions on their head when Natalie hits her head on a steel pillar at a metro station during a mugging episode (this is as exciting as the script gets) and waltzes into woozie-land.
Alas, the purportedly wonderful walk into wonderland is more bland than grand.
The flimsy anorexic film ends up celebrating rather than spoofing the conventions of the romantic comedy genre. Natalie’s gay neighbour (Brandon Scott Jones) goes all flabby-wristed and hip-twisted, only to tell us at the end that gay men don’t behave that way in real life.
I would happily relegate this non-descript trivia of a movie to the trash can, be it not for our Priyanka Chopra, who plays a femme fatale all set to steal away our heroine Natalie’s best friend-and-potential boyfriend Josh (Adam Devine), who doesn’t really seem worth stealing.
In what could be described as the most air-headed role of her career, Priyanka plays Isabelle. Her job profile is self-described as “yoga ambassador” (whatever that means). Although she seems to spend all her time posing, preening, pouting and seducing Josh, who, as mentioned earlier, is no Don Juan.
With a role that is briefer than the clothes she is given to wear (femme fatales must dress skimpily in our films), Priyanka must have a good reason for doing this film. We don’t know what it is. A fat pay cheque, with a leading lady to match? Clueless as we are about her reasons for being in a film where her role is what Aruna Irani played in Hindi films of the 1970s, there is the comfort of the company for Priyanka in Liam Hemsworth, whose presence here is even more baffling.
He plays a jerk in a towel who has to pretend he finds the hefty heroine attractive.
Perhaps, both Priyanka and Liam got bitten by the same romantic comedy bug that bites Rebel Wilson. No, no that mark on her neck is not a love bite.
With a plot that could be written on one grain of rice (Basmati), characters who think it’s cool to pretend they love to hate on-screen romance, and performances which may strongly qualify for the Golden Raspberry Awards.
“Isn’t It Romantic” is right up there with Priyanka Chopra’s desi classics Suneel Darshan’s “Andaz”, Dharmesh Darshan’s “Aap Ki Khatir” and of course her Hollywood debut “Baywatch”.