Natalie is an architect who hates romantic comedies because she feels they promote stereotypes and negative expectations. After having a run-in with a mugger, Natalie is knocked unconscious and wakes up to find that her life is like a cliche romantic comedy. This means she has a stereotypical gay best friend, her work friend and assistant Whitney is now her rival, and a handsome billionaire named Blake is trying to win her affection. Meanwhile, her friend Josh, with whom she shares actual chemistry with, is now with the beautiful model Isabella.
Natalie figures she has to play out the romantic comedy tropes in order to wake up back in her reality. She tries to make Blake fall in love with her, and although it works, she is still stuck there. Natalie then realizes she is falling in love with Josh, but he is quickly getting married to Isabella. After Natalie goes to try and stop their wedding, she discovers that the lesson she was supposed to learn is that she should love herself. She steals a car and then gets into an accident, which lets her wake up in the normal world.
Natalie becomes more assertive and wows her boss and Blake (a client in real life) with her presentation. She and Josh also start to get together. The cast then performs a whole musical number.
Natalie (Rebel Wilson) comes to realize that she should’ve given Josh (Adam DeVine) a chance. After seeing that Blake (Liam Hemsworth) was not the one and that he was actually vapid and shallow, she rushes to the Church where Josh and Isabella (Priyanka Chopra) are getting married with the intention of stopping the wedding. It is here that she understands the first person she needed to love was herself, so then she would be able to embrace good things in her life. She walks off and takes the “Just Married” convertible set for the couple to drive away; but then, she has a head-on collision and finds herself in the hospital…
BACK IN HER NON-ROMANTIC REALITY; where everything is grim and as she would expect it to be. A Doctor tells her she was in a medically-induced coma for 18 hours, due to her injury from the mugging attempt earlier in the film. She goes home and even gives her neighbour Donny (Brandon Scott Jones) -who is really gay, a drug dealer and has a boyfriend- a hug, thanking him for “his support”.
At work, Natalie stands up to those who would just want to treat her like an errand girl -including her assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin), to whom she warns to cut down on watching movies at work- and passionately presents, at the day’s conference, a project that calls everyone’s attention, including Blake. And, of course, she and Josh finally admit their feelings for each other and kiss, after which -in a very clichéd romantic fashion- she takes the elevator to go get a coffee.
The movie ends with a catchy rendition of “Express Yourself”, sung and danced by the main cast.
The film opens sometime in the early 90’s in Australia. Young Natalie (Alex Kis) is watching “Pretty Woman” and enjoying it until her mother (Jennifer Saunders) comes in and tells her she shouldn’t watch romantic comedies because women like her and Natalie don’t get happy endings the way beautiful women like Julia Roberts do. This breaks Natalie’s spirit and causes her to enjoy the movie less.
25 years later, Natalie (now played by Rebel Wilson) works as an architect in New York City. She is kind of a pushover amongst her coworkers and is frequently viewed as (in her eyes, anyway) the “coffee bitch”. Her only friends are Josh (Adam Devine) and Whitney (Betty Gilpin), the latter being Natalie’s assistant. They receive a new client, handsome billionaire Blake (Liam Hemsworth), and as Natalie goes to join them for a presentation, Blake mistakes Natalie’s coffee for his, and her boss makes her go grab Blake a fresh one. Later, Natalie catches Whitney watching “The Wedding Singer” and crying. Natalie chastises her and goes on a cynical three-hour rant about why romantic comedies are bullshit and why they set bad examples with their cliches. Josh later tries to invite Natalie to hang out, but she rudely brushes him off, and Whitney tells Natalie that more people would notice her if she were more open.
Natalie takes the subway home when she sees a guy on the other train trying to get her attention. They meet up, and he appears friendly, but he then attacks Natalie and tries to take her bag. They fight for it, and she ends up disabling him, but as she runs away, Natalie runs face-first into a pole, knocking herself unconscious.
Natalie wakes up in a hospital and is greeted by a good-looking doctor who starts flirting with her. She is more creeped out than charmed, and she leaves after being discharged. When she walks out, she notices that New York doesn’t smell like crap and instead smells like lavender. Natalie walks into the street and gets hit by Blake’s limo. He is now more charming to her and he takes her home in a matter of seconds and leaves her his number by writing them on flower petals and then expecting Natalie to remember despite him giving them to her in a random order.. She goes into her apartment and finds that it is larger, nicer, and that she owns every shoe ever made, and that they fit her perfectly. Her dog is also well-groomed and obedient now. Also, her grumpy neighbor Donny (Brandon Scott Jones) is now a wildly flamboyant stereotypically gay best friend.
At work, Natalie finds that Whitney doesn’t work for her and is now in competition with her. Everything just seems weirder to Natalie. She steps out for a walk with Josh, and as they go through the park, they see a woman choking. Josh goes to help her, and she turns out to be a gorgeous swimsuit model named Isabella (Priyanka Chopra), the same model from a billboard outside Natalie’s office that she thinks Josh is always gawking at. There appears to be an instant spark between them, and they go out together, leaving Natalie alone. As she walks around by herself and randomly trips on things while strange handsome men compliment her, in addition to the random people dancing in the park, Natalie comes to the conclusion that she is in a PG-13 romantic comedy.
Natalie goes around trying to undo everything and knock herself unconscious again. This just creeps out other guys, and as Natalie attempts to step in front of a train, she is pulled back by a cop who is literally named Officer Hansom. He arrests her for harassing the others, and she uses her one phone call to contact Blake, and the petals magically align themselves properly so that Natalie can know the right way to call him. Blake picks her up, and Natalie figures that she has to get him to fall in love with her in order to get herself out of the rom-com world.
After doing an offscreen makeover montage with Donny, Natalie goes on a date with Blake looking glammed up. It goes well, ending with a romantic kiss in the middle of a city street. When the two go back to his place to get intimate, it immediately cuts to the next morning. Natalie tries two more times to have sex with Blake and actually experience it, but it keeps cutting over and jumping to the next day. Blake then tells Natalie that he loves her, but it doesn’t change anything for her and she is still stuck in the rom-com.
Natalie is later visited by Josh with some Chinese food. The two laugh and joke together, actually having genuine chemistry together. However, it gets ruined when Blake shows up and acts like a dick to Josh, which makes him leave.
Natalie and Blake run into Josh and Isabella, and the latter two invite the former two to Isabella’s place in the Hamptons for a party they are having. Natalie and Blake head up there, where Natalie and Josh take another stroll together, indicating that Natalie is actually falling for Josh. This is ruined moments later when Josh and Isabella announce that they are getting married the following day. Everyone then heads over to a nearby bar for karaoke. Natalie goes up to sing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, but a waitress accidentally unplugs the mic. Natalie keeps the song going and gets help from others, turning it into a full-blown musical number.
In the morning, Natalie finds that Blake is trying to pass off her ideas as his own. He defends it by saying that she won’t have to work when she’s with him, but she likes being an architect and she breaks up with Blake. Upset, she goes to talk to Donny, who gives her some inspiring words based on his own personal experiences. Natalie then realizes that if she loves Josh, she has to go do the ultimate rom-com cliche of stopping a wedding…in slow-mo no less. Natalie gets to the church and gives a big speech to Josh, thinking she will admit she loves him after telling him why he should be with her instead, but she has come to realize that she loves herself, and that is the lesson she was supposed to learn. Natalie leaves the wedding and decides to steal the brand new car Josh and Isabella would have driven, but she is distracted and drives head-first into a wall.
Natalie wakes up in another hospital and sees that the doctor there is also a stud, and she fears she is still stuck in the rom-com world. However, the real doctor (an older man) comes in and makes the other guy leave, as he is just an actor preparing for a role. Natalie pulls a needle out of her arm and yells out “Fuck!” which leads her to figure out she is back to her reality. She runs home and is happy to see her lousy apartment and lame dog. Outside, she finds that Donny actually is gay in real life, and that he is a weed dealer, leading Natalie to hug him. She returns to work and reaffirms her friendship with Whitney, but makes it clear that she has to stop watching movies at work. She then goes to deliver a presentation to her boss and Blake for a parking garage for a hotel that Blake is set to open. He likes Natalie’s pitch, and it appears that the boss does too. Natalie then goes over to Josh’s cubicle and tells him he shouldn’t live in a fantasy staring at the billboard of Isabella. Josh then gets up to make it clear to her that he was never looking at the billboard, but rather, he was always looking at Natalie. She is touched, and the two kiss.
Natalie walks out for coffee, and she is greeted downstairs with Whitney, who points out that now that she has made it to her dream job and has a guy who worships her, it’s almost like she is in an actual romantic comedy. Natalie scoffs at the idea and says that all that needs to happen is a musical number. Cut to the whole cast performing “Express Yourself” in the streets.