The Dove Take:
There are some positive ideas, plenty of negative content, and maybe a question mark at the end of the title.
A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.
Isn’t It Romantic? The title is a good question about the film. And the answer may not be completely clear. The film spends much energy making fun of tropes that fill (or plague?) many romance films and how their narratives may be predetermined to predictable elements. Natalie’s continual commentary on the ridiculous rom-com realm may be amusing but keeps the film from succeeding more as an homage to what it’s referencing. It is too busy making fun to let the audience genuinely enjoy the cliches. However, though Natalie hates the cliches, the film’s end is one, complete with a dance sequence. Sure, there may be an extra, and positive, step as Natalie learns more about loving herself, but even that aspect could be thought of as another cliche. This keeps the film from being a more successful subversion of what it is mocking and blurs the line until it might nearly become it.
There’s still the question: Isn’t it romantic?
If Natalie’s choices to love herself and someone else are her own and not just the result of storytelling cliches or predestination, then yes, it is romantic.
But, especially recently, those choices Natalie makes may also be thought of as rom-com cliches. Is Natalie independent? Or are her choices just cliches she doesn’t know are cliches? Are they steps toward a predestined ending beyond any of her actual influence? Is she helpless to the powers of cliches so intense she may not even recognize them? Where it might fail at romance, it may unintentionally succeed in being thought of as bouquet-colorful meta with fictional characters predestined to their fictional story’s cliches.
Isn’t It Romantic? has some positive aspects, but it also has much negative content, including sexual remarks and language. Isn’t It Romantic? is not Dove-Approved.