If you’re gonna make a rom-com spoof, you gotta have the rom-com-iest musical number ever. Which is why Isn’t It Romantic pays tribute to the genre’s musical history with a showstopping karaoke scene.
Rebel Wilson stars in the film (out Feb. 13) as Natalie, a relationship cynic who hits her head and wakes up a reluctant protagonist in a romantic comedy. So of course she’s forced to sing and dance out her feelings in front of her best friend (Adam DeVine) and his love interest (Priyanka Chopra) to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).”
“It’s hard because we’re parodying the rom-com trope of doing a musical number, but we also wanted it to be a good musical number,” Wilson tells EW with a laugh.
What starts as an awkward spotlight for Natalie soon devolves into a full-blown sing-off between Wilson and Chopra, complete with backup dancers and choreography that everyone in the bar inexplicably knows. (Hey, it’s a rom-com!) “In a lot of rom-coms, there are musical numbers where people spontaneously break into rehearsed choreography,” Wilson adds. “Like the ‘Say A Little Prayer For You’ from My Best Friend’s Wedding and the Michael Jackson in 13 Going on 30.”
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was the writers’ first song choice, though director Todd Strauss-Schulson was hesitant to spotlight a track that had already been covered by so many other artists. “I was like, can we get a deeper-cut party song?” he explains.
But the film’s music supervisors came up with a unique version that starts a cappella, before exploding into an elaborate arrangement. “And then the chorus drops and you’re like, holy moly,” Strauss-Schulson adds.
Who wouldn’t wanna dance to that?
Every day until Valentine’s Day Entertainment Weekly is celebrating our special romantic-comedy-themed Untold Stories issue. Check out all our behind-the-scenes tidbits, reunions, and oral histories here, and follow #LoveEWstyle on Twitter and Instagram.