Michael Parmelee/Warner Bros.
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October 11, 2018 at 06:00 PM EDT

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There’s a magical alternate reality, a place where most romantic comedies are set, where the apartments are always enormous and NYC never smells like garbage. It’s a mystical land filled with comic misunderstandings and impromptu musical numbers, where everyone works as either a magazine editor or an architect.

The upcoming comedy Isn’t It Romantic is a return to that world, albeit with a twist: Rebel Wilson stars as Natalie, a cynical architect who actively despises rom-coms and has dismissed them as fantasy. But when a scuffle with a thief knocks her unconscious, she wakes up smack in the middle of one — and she’s the leading lady.

“It’s kind of like [Natalie’s] worst nightmare going into it, and I spend the rest of the movie figuring out how on earth I’m going to get out of it,” Wilson, 38, tells EW with a laugh.

Warner Bros. Pictures

In true rom-com fashion, Natalie quickly finds herself in a tangled love triangle with a dashing stranger, Blake (Liam Hemsworth), and her best friend, Josh (Adam DeVine) — who himself is smitten with a yoga ambassador played by Priyanka Chopra. (Even worse, Natalie is trapped in a PG-13 rom-com: All cursing and nudity is auto-censored.) For Wilson, who’s best known for stealing scenes in comedies like Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, this is a chance to finally take the spotlight.

“I don’t think there’s been a rom-com where there’s a plus-size girl as the lead,” she says. “They’re normally cast as the sassy friend or the sidekick.”

Wilson and director Todd Strauss-Schulson watched and rewatched dozens of rom-coms to prepare; the film includes nods to classics like Pretty Woman, When Harry Met Sally, and Notting Hill.

“It’s a romantic comedy about falling in love with yourself,” Strauss-Schulson says. “And it’s a romantic comedy about romantic comedies and the romantic stories we tell ourselves.”

Isn’t It Romantic will hit theaters — when else? — on Valentine’s Day 2019.

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