Brow Beat

It Happened to Me: I Watched All of Isn’t It Romantic Thinking It Was the Other Hemsworth

This is fraud.

Side-by-side stills of Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters, wearing glasses, a tie, and vest, and Liam Hemsworth in Isn't It Romantic, wearing a suit with a saxophone. They look a lot alike.
At left, Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters, and at right, Liam Hemsworth in Isn’t It Romantic. We think.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Sony Pictures and Michael Parmelee/Warner Bros.

Something quite unsettling happened to me recently, and I’m going to share my story in the hope that others can avoid my fate. Please heed this public service announcement and take all necessary precautions. Are you ready? Here goes: I sat through all of Isn’t It Romantic thinking it co-starred Chris Hemsworth and not Liam Hemsworth.

I am selflessly speaking up because I just don’t want anyone else to walk into this movie thinking they’re getting hunky, funny Chris when it is the ever-so-slightly less hunky, less amusing Liam who awaits them. But I have a sneaking suspicion Isn’t It Romantic is counting on a lot of moviegoers to make this mistake.

I thought I had my Hemsworths straight: Chris, the older one, is the more famous and (arguably) the better one of the two; he’s Thor. Liam, the younger one, is married to Miley Cyrus; he was Gale in the Hunger Games movies. (There’s another brother, Luke, who is an actor on HBO’s Westworld, and, somewhat surprisingly, the eldest of the three. Then there is Larry Hemsworth, but he’s fictional.)

I caution you not to rely on hairstyles and facial hair to distinguish between Chris and Liam; this is what got me into trouble. I thought of Chris as the blonder one, but this is mostly a Thor-based illusion. For a while, though, Liam wore his hair shorter, and kind of spiky—it occurs to me that I have no idea how to describe men’s haircuts—whereas Chris wore his hair longer, and parted to one side. Chris has a beard in his most well-known role, and I got used to Liam with some stubble but not a full beard.

Don’t make the same mistakes I did! When you try to tell Liam and Chris apart by their hair and beards, they change them up on you like the masters of disguise they are. This is exactly what happened with Isn’t It Romantic: Liam grew his hair out and stopped shaving and pulled a fast one on me. In essence, he Chris’ed himself up. Also in my defense, our collective Liam screen time has been down lately since the actor took a bit of a respite from the public eye. Aside from one measly tourism video, his IMDb page lists no acting roles for all of 2017 and 2018. Could I have prevented this by paying closer attention to Miley Cyrus’s Instagram? You got me there. I have no excuse for not keeping up.

Why does it matter which Hemsworth I’m watching? Because I’m convinced this movie is trying to pass Liam off as Chris, thereby tricking audiences into thinking they’re getting a bigger movie. If you think you see Chris in a trailer, you’re impressed, because any movie that managed to land the flagship Hemsworth must be pretty good. And the part in this movie, that of a clueless, over-confident billionaire, certainly seems like a good fit for Chris, who has built something of a reputation playing the beautiful idiot. No one would argue that Liam isn’t, like his brother, a sight to behold, but his charm and comedic chops don’t match up, and imagining what the movie could have been in Chris’ hands is just asking for disappointment. Instead, you go through the whole thing wondering why Chris isn’t as hilarious as he usually is. (The movie may even wink at this bait-and-switch at one point by having Liam play the saxophone, a possible callback to the moment in Ghostbusters when Chris’ character holds up photos of himself playing the sax. It’s real, people!)

Isn’t It Romantic is fine, fun even, but to know going in that you’ll get Liam and not Chris will better equip you to manage your expectations. If I can save even one person from making this grievous error, my sacrifice will have been worth it. Friends don’t let friends mix up Hemsworths.